making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council passed amendments to the city's ethics code, based on recommendations from the city's ethics commission, according to an article in the West Seattle ...
Robert Wechsler
Updates below
Anyone who doubts the need for truly independent ethics commissions need look no further than what has been happening in Philadelphia this week. Or should I say "this year"?

I've already reported on the fining of the Ethics Board's executive director, Shane Creamer, for sharing with a reporter (off the record) confidential information about a settlement negotiation. I lauded Creamer for...
Robert Wechsler
I am always fascinated at the ways in which even the most reform-minded politicians can kill ethics reform proposals that might cause them some embarrassment. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has done a great deal for ethics reform, but at least one reform bill, which on its face seems pretty minor, has apparently gotten in his craw.

According to an article in yesterday's Baton Rouge ...
Robert Wechsler
The two best defenses against dealing responsibly with a conflict are that the local government attorney told me it was okay, and I didn't know there was a conflict. The first can be dealt with by getting the local government attorney out of the government ethics picture. But the second requires something few local government ethics codes require: applicant disclosure.

Applicant disclosure is a disclosure of interests and relationships when an individual or firm applies for money...
Robert Wechsler
Updates below (latest on August 11, 2009)
There's an interesting situation in Colorado Springs. According to an article in yesterday's Colorado Springs Gazette, an ethics complaint filed against the city's weak mayor alleged that the mayor was an investment adviser to a developer...
Robert Wechsler
In Louisiana, local government officials cannot do any sort of business with anyone who does business with their local government. This position is supported by a settlement reached with an Alexandria council member, according to an article at The charges are...