making local government more ethical

A Government Ethics Definition of "Ethics"

Most people define "ethics" in a way that doesn't really fit into the scheme of government ethics, which focuses on conflicts of interest. Even the definitions section of this website defines "ethics" as "a major branch of philosophy that involves analysis of right conduct."

That's why I was so taken with philosophy professor and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's definition of morality, which appears in her short essay in answer to the question, "Does moral action depend on reasoning?"
    "Morality paradigmatically concerns our obligations toward others, and moral struggles typically demand that we resist favoring ourselves to the exclusion of others."
This definition applies perfectly to government ethics. Dropping the word "paradigmatically," I think this should become the official definition of the "ethics" part of government ethics.

Robert Wechsler
Director of Research, City Ethics