making local government more ethical

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A review of the various products of Carla's network fellowship at the Safra Center for Ethics @ Harvard University.

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We now have several publications available in various digital formats, including all major e-Reader formats! Please go HERE to view.

Session Materials

Session Notes for recent presentations by Carla Miller. e.g. #UNRIG 2018

Robert Wechsler

When an ethics commission is appointed by the city's principal officials, can it possibly clear the air with respect to allegations against them? Baltimore's Board of Ethics has five members, four of them appointed by the mayor, three of those confirmed by the Council, and the fifth member appointed by the city solicitor, who is in turn a mayoral appointee.

According to...

Robert Wechsler

There's a lot of talk about organizational culture and the effect it can have on individuals' unethical conduct, but it's rare to find reported instances of poor organizational cultures that aren't extreme, such as Chicago. Even Enron had an excellent ethics program, and its misconduct appears to have been limited to high-level management.

The U.S. Department of the Interior seems to be an excellent example of a terrible organizational culture, at least according to its Inspector...

Robert Wechsler

When the United States was founded, it was not power or wealth or religious diversity that the Founding Fathers felt differentiated Americans from others, allowing them to found a republic, but public virtue.

A recent New York Review of Books essay by historian Edmund S. Morgan argued this convincingly. In the early nineteenth century, Americans "continued to regard public virtue as the hallmark of a republic, and they retained a doubt that other peoples were as well endowed...

Robert Wechsler

Philadelphia's Committee of Seventy may be a little gray (it recently celebrated its 100th birthday), but in its 'reborn' form (it had taken the limited role of monitoring election activities) it still knows how to take a stand and make a difference. It has made ethics a central issue of the upcoming mayoral election by putting together a four-page Ethics Agenda and asking all mayoral candidates to commit to its ethics reforms,...

Robert Wechsler

A survey commissioned by Tiller, a consulting company that specializes in what it calls "cause commerce," found a gaping leadership void when it comes to social responsibility.

People want to do more good, get more involved in their communities, but they don't know how, the survey concludes. And according to Tiller, business is uniquely positioned to fill the leadership void.

Or is it? Isn't that what government is for?...

Robert Wechsler

"Passion" is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks about municipal ethics (but it would be interesting to know what word does first come to mind). And yet passion is what you can find in an article and on-line discussion about a current conflict controversy in Billings, Montana.

At first glance, it seems to be a minor conflict problem (which is what many discussants passionately...

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