making local government more ethical

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Ethics Training

Robert Wechsler
A post yesterday in Coates' Canons: NC Local Government Law Blog raises an interesting issue about the situation of a local government candidate who has an interest in a contract with the local government which, by NC law, is prohibited not for candidates, but for a winning candidate the day he or she takes office. This provides a good occasion to look at the intersection of candidates and local government ethics...
Robert Wechsler
This week, according to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cuyahoga County (which includes Cleveland) passed a new ethics code, largely based on the recommended code drafted in October by the Code of Ethics Workgroup, set up by the Cuyahoga County Transition Advisory Group Executive Committee (the transition referred to is a change in form of government; see...
Robert Wechsler
Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel, the authors of the new book Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It (Princeton University Press), point out that egocentrism is in our nature. We naturally see the world from our point of view. We squeeze what we see and experience into our view of ourselves. We never get too far away from the baby's concept that the world exists...
Robert Wechsler
"Most of us dramatically underestimate the degree to which our behavior is affected by incentives and other situational factors." This is one of the most important sentences in Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It, a new book by Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel (Princeton University Press).

Ethical Fading
This sentence is central to the...
Robert Wechsler
How important is ethics training? According to Justice Ginsburg's dissent in Connick v. Thompson, a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 29, it is the difference between life and death.

In this case, ethics training involved training regarding the requirements of...
Robert Wechsler
Violence happens. The world is violent. People are naturally violent. This is what people say.

Politicians are all crooks. Government ethics is an oxymoron. Don't be so naïve. This is what people say.

As Michael N. Nagler says in his book The Search for a Nonviolent Future, "when we have negative expectations,...