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Ethics Reform

Robert Wechsler
It's official. According to an article in yesterday's Salt Lake City Tribune, a comprehensive ethics reform petition has been okayed for distribution, with the goal of placing it on the November 2010 ballot. That requires 95,000 signatures on a 21-page petition that is far from easy reading.

Robert Wechsler
The business coalition in Palm Beach County (FL) really gets it. One reason is that City Ethics' Carla Miller has provided advice. The coalition consists of Leadership Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Business Forum, the Palm Beach County Economic Council, and the Voters Coalition. Its positions are best stated in a short essay available at the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County site.

Robert Wechsler
DuPage County, IL, a county of nearly a million people just outside Chicago (its largest town is Naperville), is juggling two ethics ordinance revision processes, one for the county, the other for the county election commission. Both appear to have attracted some controversy.

County Ethics Ordinance
The county board is not seeking major ethics reforms. The...
Robert Wechsler
Some news in Greensboro, NC led me to a blog post on old news in Greenburgh, NY, so here's the new news and the old news about two cities with nearly the same name.

In Greensboro, NC, a council candidate has thrown down a challenge to fill out and post online the state financial disclosure form. It's not quite appropriate, since all its references are to the state, but it does require a good deal of...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, Michigan's Attorney General is seeking stronger financial and gift disclosure requirements for state officials, and he wants these requirements to apply to local officials, as well. But there's a catch:  they would only apply to local elected officials who are paid at least $65,000...
Robert Wechsler
If you want to encourage unethical behavior, give individual officials independent power over the sorts of decisions where people have the greatest incentive to tempt officials, and officials are in the best position to enforce pay-to-play.

I described a good example of this in a recent blog post about a Chicago alderman whose realtor wife did very well with companies given zoning changes by the husband. According...