making local government more ethical

Second Edition of Free Resource Book on Local Government Ethics

Local Government Ethics Programs 2.0:

A Resource for Ethics Commission Members, Local Officials,
Attorneys, Journalists, and Students,
And a Manual for Ethics Reform

by Robert Wechsler, Director of Research at City Ethics

The second edition of this comprehensive book about local
government ethics programs. And it's free!

This book is intended for multiple purposes:

  • As a resource for those faced with a specific situation, who want to understand the legal and ethical issues involved, as well as the alternative ways of dealing with the situation.

  • As a manual for those involved in government ethics reform.    

  • As a text for students of public administration as well as supplementary reading for local public administrators.

Those who will most profit from reading the entire book are ethics commission members and staff, those creating government ethics programs, and those involved in government ethics reform.

Those looking for an introduction to local government ethics should look at the separate 27-page Local Government Ethics Programs in a Nutshell.

With this book available, there is no longer an excuse for doing what is so common:  looking at the ethics codes in a few nearby cities or counties, or at a state model, to draft a minimal ethics code that no one will criticize because they don’t know any better. A strong, comprehensive ethics program is what is needed, no matter what the size of the community. If funding is an issue, small communities can band together to get the benefits of a good, inexpensive ethics program.

Many of the issues raised in this resource book are dealt with at more length in the City Ethics blog, which looks at situations that face local government ethics programs across the country. The blog also links to other useful resources, including books, articles, essays, reports, advisory opinions, training materials, and ethics and court decisions.

We welcome feedback about this book. It will help to improve the book in future editions. Please send comments to the author, Robert Wechsler, at

City Ethics is available for consulting about the creation, reform, and implementation of government ethics programs, including ethics training and external advice. Contact Carla Miller at

City Ethics is making this book available, at no cost, in multiple formats, so that it can be read on a computer, e-reader, tablet, or cellphone.

Select your preferred format from the images below. Right click the HTML format to open the book on a webpage in a separate tab or window. Or to download the book, left click on one of the other formats. Save the file and then copy it to your computer, e-Reader, tablet, or smartphone and begin reading. The MOBI format is for the Kindle, and the EPUB format works on the Nook, the Sony Reader, and iBooks.

PDF Format EPUB Format MOBI Format HTML Format

Visitor (not verified) says:

Hello: Do you have the first edition of Local government ethics program archived? May we know the link?


Patrick Lavey
Goldman Law Library
Yale Law School

Robert Wechsler says:

It's not archived, but I have it on my computer. I can send it as an attachment, if you like. What format would you like it in (it's only digital, like the first edition)? If you're looking for a reference, the PDF would be the best. Or I can find the reference for you. E-mail me at

Visitor (not verified) says:

Just found your manual and have started pouring over it. It looks to be a GREAT resource for both training and basic education. Really like the writing style and examples. Wish I'd found this a year ago when our city council was trying to update our local ethics ordinance.

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