making local government more ethical

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Ethics Commissions/Administration

Robert Wechsler
Many local ethics programs are caught up in an ongoing battle with the city or county attorney. Usually this battle goes on behind the scenes. But in Honolulu, due to an unusual grant of budget oversight to the corporation counsel, this battle has gone public.

I devoted a long section of my book Local Government Ethics Programs to the conflicts...
Robert Wechsler
Toward the end of a video of the November 4 meeting of the Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee, the committee vice-chair says that the testimony he heard was very "troubling." I felt the same way about the meeting as a whole, but for completely different reasons. What occurred at this meeting is as troubling as anything I have seen in seven years of following local...
Robert Wechsler
In an April 2013 blog post, I wrote about the problems surrounding a Florida state senator's request for a state audit of Palm Beach County's EC. That report, drafted by the state legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, has recently been published, and it includes the EC's response to the report (attached; see below).

In...
Robert Wechsler
One of the most powerful lobbyists in the United States has come out strongly in favor of independent, effective local government ethics programs. The lobbyist is AARP. Here is a quote from p. 1-13 of the Government Integrity and Civic Engagement chapter (notably, Chapter 1) of AARP's latest Policy Book:
Government at all levels should establish and adequately fund independent...
Robert Wechsler
Updated: November 20, 2013 (see below)

The gift regulation proposed by Philadelphia's ethics board last week (attached; see below) provides a great opportunity to consider many issues involving gift bans and exceptions.

It's a great thing that the ethics board has chosen to provide guidance with respect to the city's gift ban, which is not itself very clear. However, I don't think it did a very good job. I'm a big fan of Philadelphia's ethics program, but this...
Robert Wechsler
Party Committee Members on EC
According to an article in the Hartford Courant this week, a Newington, CT mayoral candidate, and council minority leader, who has made ethics allegations against the incumbent mayor has chosen not to file an ethics complaint because, she says, two of the four members of the town's ethics board are also members of...

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