making local government more ethical

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Ethics Environments

Robert Wechsler
The Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) has been getting a lot of heat lately. The bi-state organization operates four toll bridges and a commuter system between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey.

According to an article in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pennsylvania treasurer,...
Robert Wechsler
Yesterday, I wrote a blog post about intimidation, but I forgot to mention what might be the greatest fear among citizens relating to their local government:  the fear that if they speak out against local officials, especially school officials, it will affect their school-age children.

I was reminded of this fear by...
Robert Wechsler
Updates: August 4 and 9, 2010 (see below)
I was just saying to someone the other day that the worst offenses in local government ethics do not involve money. The worst offenses in local government ethics involve intimidation, which causes people to lose their peace of mind, their reputations, and the feeling that they may participate in their local government, things no amount of money can buy. And yet it is the rare ethics complaint or arrest that primarily involves intimidation...
Robert Wechsler
When it comes to government ethics, too often lawyers are nowhere to be seen, unless they are the ones saying that unethical conduct is legal. Far too often, lawyers do not use their knowledge, their strong, independent personalities, and their professional obligations to stand up to, or at least question, those acting unethically.

A horrible example of this, a cautionary tale that every law student should read in the first year, occurred when all the lawyers in the system (and...
Robert Wechsler
In my recent blog post on Maricopa County, I referred to the problem of harassment and intimidation by government officials against other government officials and employees. I have also referred in the past to the even more serious problem of harassment, intimidation, and ad hominem attacks by government officials against citizens. There is a new sort of fear...
Robert Wechsler
What do the BP oil spill and local government ethics have in common? Kenneth Feinberg.

This week, Feinberg was chosen to work out the BP oil spill claims, and today he is expected to be hired to work out the claims against Maricopa County, home of Phoenix, based on charges of harassment and abuse of power against sheriff Joe Arpaio and former county attorney...

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