making local government more ethical

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Ethics Environments

Robert Wechsler
Updates: August 24 and 26, 2010 (see below)

For those who, like me, believe that neither a mayor nor a local legislative body nor a city attorney has any business getting involved in the government ethics process, here's an example you can use of the mess they can make when they do get involved.

First, here is the background of the Fort Worth situation. According to...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in yesterday's New York Times, the New York Governor’s Task Force on Public Authorities Reform has filed its report (not yet available online) on the implementation of the Public Authorities Reform Act of 2009, whose provisions are...
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...

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