making local government more ethical

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Ethics Training

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...
Robert Wechsler
 A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about how several government officials in Wausau mishandled a conflict situation involving the purchase of property fixed up with an interest-free loan from HUD. Yesterday's The State of South Carolina covers two other HUD loan conflict situations in Columbia, which are...
Robert Wechsler

Update: November 16, 2009 (see below)

On Sunday, the Lexington Herald-Leader took an unflattering look at Kentucky's legislative ethics commission. As in New York State, a central problem appears to be the commission's lack of independence.

Two important changes were made to the commission's independence in 1996, three years after it was created. The first change involved who...

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