To Apologize with Meaning
•Admit you’ve done something wrong and you need to make up for it.
•Take full responsibility for your actions and sincerely apologize to anyone you’ve harmed.
•Apologize with urgency.
•Tell anyone you’ve harmed specifically what you did wrong and how you feel about what you did.
•Recognize that what you did is inconsistent with who you want to be.
•Make amends and demonstrate your commitment to not repeat the act by changing your behavior.
As far as public apologies go, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner did pretty well, however his effort to make amends are not commensurate with his offense and there is not enough trust to believe his sincerity in changing his behavior.
•He waited too long.
•His "fix it" gesture is too small.
•He's trust bank account is overdrawn.
Only way to salvage position:
1. Overcompensate with making amends, personally and publicly.
2. Borrow trust from loyal surrogates who have enough public trust to vouch for him. (Extremely unlikely)