making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
John Hazlehurst's observation on the Colorado Springs ethics commission's dismissal of a complaint against the mayor is valuable enough to deserve a separate blog post, rather than a mere update to my original post on this topic.

An important issue involved the mayor's insistence that, as an investment adviser, he could...
Robert Wechsler
Chicago politicians are endlessly creative. A few weeks ago I wrote about an alderman on the zoning committee who pushed for zoning changes to help developers who used his wife as their realtor. It turns out that his boss, William J. P. Banks, head of the zoning committee, is going to have a retirement party. The party's guests are being asked to send personal checks for $200 (or more), according to...
Robert Wechsler
Thanks to Texas Watchdog, "an independent, nonpartisan entity [that] serves as a government watchdog and training center where reporters, bloggers and activists of any stripe learn how to uncover waste, fraud and corruption in state and local governments," the financial disclosure forms of Houston's council members are now available online.

Robert Wechsler
Open Records Requests and Ethics Proceedings
In an unusual twist on the confidentiality of ethics proceedings, counsel for the Colorado Springs mayor's former client, the person who gave rise to the mayor's apparent conflict of interest, has made an open records request for all documents related to the ethics proceeding against the mayor, according to an article in the Colorado...
Robert Wechsler
What just happened in San Diego, according to an article in yesterday's Union-Tribune, is a lesson for local government ethics commission members, especially commission chairs, and even more especially chairs who speak out. Most important, it points out how important EC independence is.

Three EC members were up for term renewal, and two...
Robert Wechsler
Last week, I wrote about municipal corruption scandals in Montreal. This week, I'm happy to be able to write about a report requested by the province of Quebec, which determined that the province's municipalities should all have a code of ethics (only about 10% do now), that the largest cities and the counties should have ethics commissioners, and that financial disclosure and ethics training should be required. Contractors...