making local government more ethical

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Contractors and Vendors

Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Metro West Daily News on Friday, the Ashland (MA) board of selectmen sent two reported allegations of possible acts of ethical misconduct to the state ethics commission. The request sought not enforcement, but clarification. I hope by "clarification" the board meant that it is seeking advice about continuing the...
Robert Wechsler
It's nice to see conflicts of interest being opposed by political party leaders, but not when they're taken out of context. The opposition this week has been limited to public sector unions. The conflict involves public sector unions making contributions to candidates who will be in a position to deal with union compensation.

Here's how the chair of the Cache County (WI) Republican Party put it, according to...
Robert Wechsler

Term limits, the recession, a new kind of governmental district, and a drive to save and manage local parks have all contributed to a fascinating ethics situation in Pierce County, Washington, home of Tacoma. Just last year I stayed in Pierce County and visited some of these parks, so this story is a little more concrete to me than most I write about.

Park Districts
According to...
Robert Wechsler
Here are three interesting conflict of interest case studies from Tuesday's news.

Conflicts That Make You Act Differently, and Imaginative Resolutions
According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily Breeze, a former Los Angeles airport attorney, who reviewed the paperwork submitted by four companies bidding on concessions at the airport, is married to an attorney who works for a law firm...
Robert Wechsler
On January 28, the New York State Bar Association issued a report on government ethics reform in New York State, which includes a section on local government ethics reform. The report points out the many inadequacies of...
Robert Wechsler
You know you're doing a pretty poor job with government ethics when a grand jury recommends that you be all but abolished. This is the case with the Broward County School Board, according to a report published on Frday. It concludes, on p. 48:
    Unfortunately based on the history of this Board as an institution, we have no confIdence in their ability to...