making local government more ethical

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Enforcement/Penalties

Robert Wechsler
Needless to say, last week's oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Carrigan v. Nevada Commission on Ethics case, which I have been following over the past year, was the last oral argument of the term. Was this putting local government ethics in the caboose or saving the best for last?
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Robert Wechsler
Kerry Cavanaugh, a Los Angeles Daily News columnist, got it wrong when she started a recent column, "Here's another reminder that politicians are not like you or me. If I get caught taking inappropriate gifts or violating the company's ethics policy, I might be fired, suspended without pay or forced to open my wallet to pay the penalty. If a politician gets caught breaking the rules on the job, he or she can...
Robert Wechsler
I wish that a grad student somewhere would decide to do an exhaustive study of a poor ethics environment. Broward County, Florida would not be a bad choice as the subject of her research.

According to an article in the Miami Herald this week, a Deerfield Beach commissioner, formerly mayor and formerly a Broward County commissioner, is the 17th...
Robert Wechsler
Update: May 14, 2011 (see below)

An ethics controversy in Hartford presents a perfect opportunity to show the difference between ethics and law, and the right way to approach financial disclosure requirements.

Here are the facts, as reported in two Jon Lender columns in the Hartford Courant Sunday and...
Robert Wechsler
This week, according to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cuyahoga County (which includes Cleveland) passed a new ethics code, largely based on the recommended code drafted in October by the Code of Ethics Workgroup, set up by the Cuyahoga County Transition Advisory Group Executive Committee (the transition referred to is a change in form of government; see...
Robert Wechsler
Some Problems with Mayoral Executive Orders in Philadelphia
On January 25, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter signed three ethics-related executive orders, which I would love to link you to, but cannot. How effective, except as a way to get the council moving on ethics reform, are executive orders that can't be found online? These orders deal with nepotism, family-oriented conflicts, outside employment, and gifts.

Their limitations don't stop at inaccessibility. First, although...

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