making local government more ethical

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Ethics Training

Robert Wechsler
This is the second of four blog posts on Florida Senate Bill 606 (attached; see below), one of the worst ethics reform bills I have ever read (click here to read the first post, which focused on a provision that provides an additional penalty on complainants in order to...
Robert Wechsler
In early 2009, I started out a blog post, "Type 'ethics' into the search line at utah.gov, and all that comes up is Archery Ethics Course Online." That is no longer true. In fact, the state legislature not only has an ethics commission, it even passed a local ethics commission act. And in response to that act, some Utah municipalities have set up ethics commissions or hearing officers, and one group in Davis County is even at...
Robert Wechsler
In an April 2013 blog post, I wrote about the problems surrounding a Florida state senator's request for a state audit of Palm Beach County's EC. That report, drafted by the state legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, has recently been published, and it includes the EC's response to the report (attached; see below).

In...
Robert Wechsler
Update October 7, 2013 (see below)

On Independence Day weekend, I like to focus on the independence of local government ethics programs. The public naturally trusts any ethics program that has not been selected by the officials under its jurisdiction. An EC that is not dependent on the appointment and budgetary powers of a mayor or local legislative body can function, and be seen to function, fairly and without bias.

Savannah is a city of 140,000 people, certainly...
Robert Wechsler
I don't get it. Such a big deal has been made out of the Bell, CA officials paying themselves big bucks. This was considered the big local government ethics story of the last few years. The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitizer Prize for uncovering it.

Yes, what happened in Bell was appalling. But what happened in Luzerne County, PA was far, far worse. And yet, for example,...
Robert Wechsler
“It’s much to-do about not much. I’m trying to run a city, and you’re worried about people’s relationships?” These are the words of Mount Vernon, NY mayor Ernest Davis, who is the subject of IRS and FBI investigations, and now an investigation by the city's ethics board, according to an article in Wednesday's Journal News.

Dealing...

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