making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
"You can buy Supreme Court races" under the current system, said Rep. Pedro Colón (D-Milwaukee). "The sign is outside: 'This court is for sale.'" (from an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week)

Nobody wants this to be said, at least nobody but four of the seven Wisconsin Supreme Court justices, according to...
Robert Wechsler
In a recent blog post on the new Michigan Model Local Government Ethics Ordinance, I noted in passing that the model wrongfully made divulging confidential information a violation even when it benefits no one, and that this is not a government ethics issue.

This same issue arose this week in Bainbridge Island (WA), according to...
Robert Wechsler

"I don't think we need to have an ethics officer. ... I feel we already have three ethics officers."

Fernandina Beach Commissioner Jeffrey Bunch, referring, it appears, to the city attorney, the city manager, and the mayor (from the Fernandina Beach (FL) News-Leader)

Robert Wechsler

The Dallas ethics reforms described in a recent blog post were passed on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News. However, according to...

New South Wales, Australia Premier Nathan Rees announces plain language reforms

In an interview recently he said: "I want plain English to become an essential part of how the public sector does its business, every bit as essential as a financial impact statement."

His statement at the opening of the PLAIN Conference in Sydney October 16th included three points that he plans to implement:

Robert Wechsler

Update: November 13, 2009 (see below)

Massachusetts has been very busy reforming its ethics laws. Most of the reforms involve the increase of penalties, plugging loopholes, banning gifts, and increasing the authority of the state ethics commission, which has jurisdiction over local government officials and employees. Highlights of the reform bill can be found in an...