making local government more ethical
The relationship between San Diego's council and ethics commission continues to prove unhealthy. It shows how wrong it is for elected officials to appoint and control the body that oversees their conduct.

COGEL (Council on Governmental Ethics Laws) annual conferences are often held at a time and place where there are serious government ethics issues. Last year, the conference was held in Chicago the day Gov. Blagojevich was arrested. This year, the conference was held in Maricopa County, AZ, where few days go by when there isn't a serious government ethics issue. Maricopa County has got to be the most dysfunctional county in the U.S.

According to an article in the Arizona Republic, in a little more than a week, county sheriff Joe Arpaio and his loyal sidekick, county attorney Andrew Thomas, filed three suits against a large number of other county officials.

I'm back from the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) conference, and I will be sharing some valuable information from the talks and panels I attended.

In a panel on gifts provisions in ethics codes, the panel consisted not only of the usual government ethics professionals, but also a lawyer who advises and defends lobbyists and those who do business with governments. One difference in their perspectives stood out.

It's been a year since the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL), the association of state and local government ethics professionals, met in Cook County, IL. But the day before COGEL meets in Scottdale, AZ, it's time to take another look at one of America's most unethical counties, which includes Chicago.

This time the focus is on the county's townships. The problem is summed up professionally in the abstract to a paper published last year. It's called Township Government: Essential or Expendable? The Case of Illinois and Cook County and it's by David Hamilton of the Roosevelt University Institute of Metropolitan Affairs Regionalism Project. The paper was given at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in April 2008.

According to an article in Town Talk, an allegation against the mayor of Alexandria (LA) of ignoring a conflict of interest has led to some all too typical denial, squabbling, and inappropriate city attorney activity.

Quote after Quote in Paris
Earlier this month the French president's son supplied me with a quote of the day. Now he has announced he will not pursue a job his father used to have, and he has supplied me with another quote of the day:
    If the question you are asking me is, ‘Did you talk to the president about [the government job]?’ No. Did I talk about that with my father? Yes.