making local government more ethical

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Protecting Whistleblowers:


Best Practices for Promoting Ethics in Government...

Robert Wechsler
This week, Seattle's expanded Whistleblower Protection Code became effective (attached; see below). As what appears to be the most extensive local whistleblower code, it deserves a look from any local government seeking to draft or improve whistleblower provisions.

The major changes to the code, according to the ethics commission's (SEEC) website, are:
Employees who report wrongdoing to their supervisor or other person in their chain of command will now be protected...
Robert Wechsler
Florida Senate Bill 606 (attached; see below) is one of the worst ethics reform bills I have ever read. But it is far worse than the words it consists of. What makes it worse is that, with respect to laws that affect local officials, it is largely the work of the Florida League of Cities (this was confirmed to me by representatives of both the League and state senator Jeff Clemens, the bill's sponsor). It is...
Robert Wechsler
It came to my attention in an interview with Professor James Svara, for a paper I am writing for the journal Public Integrity, that in March 2013, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) made substantial — sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, sometimes baffling — changes to its Code of Ethics (the revised code is attached; see below). This post will look at the changes that involve conflicts of interest.

Personal Interests
The provision "...
Robert Wechsler
Yesterday, Oregon's Statesman Journal reported an interesting case that involves a number of important government ethics issues.

The state's Department of Corrections (DOC) deputy director allegedly used his position to influence an Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE) administrator into hiring his son and later giving him a higher salary and...
Robert Wechsler
An op-ed piece in the New York Times Sunday Review today looks at whistleblowing from the perspective of whether people lean toward fairness or loyalty (those who lean to fairness are more likely to blow the whistle on misconduct). This is, of course, a simplistic approach, but valuable nevertheless. What is especially valuable is the authors' recommendation of reframing...