making local government more ethical

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Ethics Officers

Robert Wechsler
"'Public Service Must Begin at Home': The Lawyer as Civics Teacher in Everyday Practice" by Bruce A. Green and Russell G. Pearce (William & Mary Law Review, Vol. 50, p. 1207, 2009) provides an excellent basis for something that I consider extremely important to government ethics, but with which many government ethics practitioners disagree:  going beyond the law in the provision of government...
Robert Wechsler
Some very interesting issues arise out of a past (and present) conflict situation that has become an issue in this week's mayoral primary in the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS ("UG").

The conflict situation appears simple at first glance, but it is not. In 2007, a UG commissioner became the paid executive director of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association ("ANDA"), a nonprofit Community...
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

It's rare to find a newspaper article that truly appreciates the work a city ethics officer does. So I'm including the entire article below. It's from the Jacksonville Times-Union, and Jacksonville's ethics officer happens to be City Ethics President Carla Miller. Had it been anyone else, I would have run the article right away. But after a...
Robert Wechsler
News from British Columbia provides strong evidence of how difficult it is for anyone to deal with his own conflict situation, even a government ethics professional. No one should think that it is easy for someone to see an appearance of impropriety relating to himself or to respond to a conflict allegation against him in anything but a personal manner. A government ethics program must facilitate the process of dealing responsibly with a conflict situation by allowing, or even requiring,...
Robert Wechsler
A situation that arose recently in Atlanta shows how important it is to require applicant disclosure of relationships with local government officials, and to hold applicants accountable. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta's ethics office dismissed allegations that a council member had sponsored and voted on a no-bid contract when...

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