making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Update: October 8, 2010 (see below)

There's a fascinating ethics controversy going on in Stamford, CT which raises a number of issues involving time limits, the enforcement of declarations of policy, intimidation, and the roles of ethics commissions and inspectors general.

Time Limits
Stamford's Code of Ethics requires that a decision on...
Robert Wechsler
Two years ago, I wrote a blog post about a book by Lewis Hyde entitled The Gift, which had a lot to say, philosophically, about gift-giving and -receiving, an issue of relevance to government ethics. I just finished Hyde's book...
Robert Wechsler
In Milwaukee County, according to an article in Sunday's Journal-Sentinel, a county supervisor is seeking to add to the county ethics code a confidential information provision that would not limit the prohibition to what is common in ethics codes: information divulged for someone's benefit.

As I've written...
Robert Wechsler
Those who, like me, are fascinated by Vernon, California, the ultimate company town, with an ethical environment that breaks nearly all the rules, will be happy to know that it was given a long treatment in a front-page article in Sunday's Los Angeles Times. There are no new revelations, but a few good quotes.

From state Assemblyman Hector De La Torre:  "It's...
Robert Wechsler
Who is the best sort of individual to select as an ethics commission member?  Some people believe it's a member of the clergy, because who else is more ethical? And there are many clergy members on ethics commissions across the country. But this shows either a misunderstanding of government ethics (that it's about being good rather than dealing responsibly with conflicts of interest) or a preference for appearances, even if it gives the public the wrong impression about what government ethics...
Robert Wechsler
Four years after I wrote a blog post entitled The Ethics of Today's Municipal Pension Plan Problems, according to an op-ed piece in the New York Times, New Jersey agreed with the S.E.C. never again to fraudulently hide...