City of San Diego employees observe unethical behavior at rates higher than normal, but report it less than typical U.S. employees, according to a survey released today.

The survey, commissioned by the Mayor’s Office, found that abusive or intimidating behavior was the most frequently cited ethical misconduct. Nearly a quarter of city employees also report feeling pressured to compromise ethical standards, doubling the national average. Those feeling pressure chalk it up to outside influences at a rate three-times higher than the national average.

Mayor Jerry Sanders said he commissioned the study to gauge employees’ understanding of the city’s ethical guidelines and to see if they were getting the support they needed in reporting misconduct.

“These findings are extraordinarily troubling,” Sanders said in a statement.

On the campaign trail and in office, the mayor has made ethics a key issue, forcing campaign staff to sign an ethics pledge and creating the Office of Ethics and Integrity. The formation of the office, and its more-than-$1 million budget, drew heat at a time when city managers were making cuts throughout the organization to deal with a budget gap.

The study found that 81 percent of employees report misconduct to their supervisors, while only 6 percent use the ethics office’s hotline or human resources.

Read the full release from the mayor and the full study here.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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