making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Undisclosed conflicts can cause a lot of problems, but rarely are they a matter of life and death. In Collin County, TX, north of Dallas, an undisclosed conflict could have been responsible for a man's death sentence (and, perhaps, many more sentences).

According to an article this week in the Plano Star-Courier, a district attorney and judge were having an affair,...
Robert Wechsler
A new argument has been made in the legislative immunity part of the case against a Baltimore council member who is now the mayor. In a memorandum to dismiss a new indictment (attached; see below), filed on September 8, the mayor has argued, on pages 3-10, that testimony by someone who attended events which the mayor attended in her legislative capacity cannot be used against her.

This is an interesting extension of the argument that legislative immunity prevents any evidence to be...
Robert Wechsler
DuPage County, IL, a county of nearly a million people just outside Chicago (its largest town is Naperville), is juggling two ethics ordinance revision processes, one for the county, the other for the county election commission. Both appear to have attracted some controversy.

County Ethics Ordinance
The county board is not seeking major ethics reforms. The...
Robert Wechsler
Some news in Greensboro, NC led me to a blog post on old news in Greenburgh, NY, so here's the new news and the old news about two cities with nearly the same name.

In Greensboro, NC, a council candidate has thrown down a challenge to fill out and post online the state financial disclosure form. It's not quite appropriate, since all its references are to the state, but it does require a good deal of...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, Michigan's Attorney General is seeking stronger financial and gift disclosure requirements for state officials, and he wants these requirements to apply to local officials, as well. But there's a catch:  they would only apply to local elected officials who are paid at least $65,000...
Robert Wechsler
Two former public works employees are in the news this week for misconduct.

According to an article in the Tulsa World, a former Tulsa field engineering officer who sat on the Professional Consulting Services Selection Committee pleaded guilty to bribery...