making local government more ethical

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Ethics Environments

Robert Wechsler
The Miami-Dade County ethics commission has been a leader in reaching out to the community. In 2011, it co-sponsored a local government ethics conference, which attracted people from all over Florida. In 2012, it organized the first Ethical Governance Day, according to an...
Robert Wechsler
This is the third blog post on the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) matter. This post considers the matter in the context of a wide range of problems affecting CRAs throughout southern Forida, which can be seen in reports in the area's newspapers and blogs. Several CRAs have also been investigated by various offices and commissions.

A CRA is, as...
Robert Wechsler
There's a lot of food for thought in the February 21 decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in the case Lodge No. 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police v. City of Philadelphia.

The suit was brought in order to end the prohibition on police officers making campaign contributions to local candidates directly or through a party or PAC, including the...
Robert Wechsler
Simplifying Self-Supervision
In their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Crown, 2010), Chip and Dan Heath note that self-control or, more accurately, self-supervision is an exhaustible resource. What looks like laziness or selfishness is often simply exhaustion. Self-supervision gets burned up by managing the impression we make on others, by coping with...
Robert Wechsler
Government ethics proceedings are usually not very satisfying for those involved. Individuals rarely get to tell the entire story from their point of view. Nor do they profit from hearing how others saw the situation or experienced the events. The format for ethics proceedings is similar to the criminal justice system, with charges, a prosecution, witnesses, documents, and the ethics commission as jury. Or a settlement is reached, the equivalent of a plea bargain, and no story is told at all...
Robert Wechsler

In memory of Albert O.Hirschman, an important economist and political scientist who died last month, I want to apply some of the ideas from his most famous book, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970), to local government ethics (...