making local government more ethical

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Ethics Training

Robert Wechsler
The Partisanship of Ethics
The first pleasant surprise involves a blogger (Advance Indiana) who is disgusted with his own party's unethical conduct in his city/county, Indianapolis/Marion County. A native of Illinois, he compares it to Chicago, and he notes that his party took office because of the other party's unethical conduct. In this era of partisan blogging, it...
Robert Wechsler
Assuming you can learn a lot from the mistakes made in local government ethics matters in cities and towns other than your own, there is a great deal to learn from a simple ethics matter that, through a number of mistakes, oversights and, apparently, partisanship has been turned into a big issue in the city of Torrington (CT; pop. 36,000). There's also a lesson to be learned about the confidentiality of ethics commission decisions...
Robert Wechsler
Two months ago, I pointed out Patricia Salkin's new summary of 2009 reported cases dealing with ethical aspects of local government land use matters. I'm finally getting around to analyzing one of them that provides a fascinating perspective on why conflicts of interest are important. The decision shows that, when you look at...
Robert Wechsler
Tallahassee takes a compliance approach to ethics. Its ethics code is aspirational, based on core values. Its ethics training employs a Character First approach. Conflicts of interest are only a small portion of a program that ranges from personnel and transparency issues to harassment, discrimination, and fraud.

This is not the sort of ethics program usually discussed in this blog, because it is not what is...
Robert Wechsler
I recently critiqued the new Michigan model local government ethics ordinance. Mark Liss, a council member in Michigan alerted me (and the world in his blog) to the new model's similarities with the...
Robert Wechsler

Update: November 13, 2009 (see below)

Massachusetts has been very busy reforming its ethics laws. Most of the reforms involve the increase of penalties, plugging loopholes, banning gifts, and increasing the authority of the state ethics commission, which has jurisdiction over local government officials and employees. Highlights of the reform bill can be found in an...

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