making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Jacksonville Times-Union this week, former Jacksonville council member and current lobbyist Ginny Myrick said, in response to lobbying reforms suggested by Jacksonville ethics officer, and City Ethics' president, Carla Miller, that (not exact words) "it is important for exact payments from clients to remain protected because the information is...
Robert Wechsler
Update: May 12, 2010 (see below)

According to an article in Tuesday's Sun-Sentinel, Broward County (FL) Commissioner Ilene Lieberman feels that the ethics code written by a special commission on ethics (most of whose members...
Robert Wechsler
Failure to disclose or to recuse oneself, even when it is not legally required, can lead to some big headaches, as can be seen in Portland, OR, where a city commissioner voted on a grant to a non-profit organization where his girlfriend works. Also interesting in this case is the commissioner's use of personal ethics rather than professional, government ethics in making his judgment calls.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
According to an editorial in the Press Democrat, the city council in Santa Rosa (CA), a city of about 150,000 north of San Francisco, has postponed consideration of an ordinance requiring city lobbyists to register, supposedly due to complaints from nonprofits who do not want to pay the $120 fee. (...
Robert Wechsler
Update: April 29, 2010 (see below)

The idea of a possible conflict of interest should not be an excuse for a fishing expedition to find relationships between local government legislators and people or contracts they vote on. This appears to be what is happening in Crossville, a town of 9,000 in east-central Tennessee.

One problem is the vague idea people have of the word "interest." The Crossville...
Robert Wechsler
Pennsylvanians have, for some time, been entertained with a scandal called Bonusgate, which involves state legislative staff not only being used for campaigns, but getting bonuses, which makes a common practice appear even uglier. The ugliness has recently increased in intensity:  defense counsel for two of the legislators is accusing the attorney general (who instituted the criminal actions) of doing the very same thing, without the bonuses. And the attorney general, of a different political...