making local government more ethical

You are here

Contractors and Vendors

Robert Wechsler
There are several problems with Houston's new ethics provisions, in addition to what I pointed out in my last blog post. Some of them are typical, some of them are unusual. The ethics reform ordinance is attached; see below; the old ethics ordinance can be found by clicking here and scrolling down on the left to Code of Ordinances Chapter 18).

Impropriety and...
Robert Wechsler
This week, the Pay to Play Law Blog took a snapshot of the status of pay-to-play laws across the country, breaking them down into four categories:  jurisdictions that impose significant restrictions, including debarment; jurisdictions that require disclosure; jurisdictions with limited requirements; and jurisdictions that are considering pay-to-play laws.

I don't intend to...
Robert Wechsler
Insurance is a big area for abuse in local government. It usually constitutes a sizeable dollar percentage of a town's contracts, and an insurance broker who works in government can use his or her position to get the insurance business of companies that do or want to do business with the town. And insurance is an area few people understand, and which no department, office, or board may be responsible for overseeing.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
One of the most effective ways to create a good ethics environment is by telling the full story of the bad ethics environment that preceded it. If someone or, better, a number of people, have the courage and integrity to not only admit publicly to what they and their colleagues did, but to tell it like a story, a group story, it will have a cathartic effect. It will cleanse the community and act as a point where everything is in the open and continues to be in the open. It will make it easier...
Robert Wechsler
It not only takes a number of officials to allow unethical conduct to occur, it also takes a number of officials to undermine the effect of a good ethics program. An ugly example occurred recently in North Providence, Rhode Island, a city where three former council members are awaiting trial for charges of extortion and bribery.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
Local government vendor or supplier codes of conduct are not commonly found in the U.S. In a limited search, I couldn't find one. But corporations commonly have them, as do some Canadian cities and some states and state agencies. And they sound like a good idea.

The reason I raise this idea is that Cuyahoga County's new county executive says he will have one drafted (see my most...

Pages

randomness