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Ethics Training

Robert Wechsler
John Hazlehurst's observation on the Colorado Springs ethics commission's dismissal of a complaint against the mayor is valuable enough to deserve a separate blog post, rather than a mere update to my original post on this topic.

An important issue involved the mayor's insistence that, as an investment adviser, he could...
Robert Wechsler
In a blog post yesterday, I noted that North Carolina was soon to require local governments to pass ethics codes. I've now found out more about the proposed law, and it is disappointing, to say the least.

States have taken a variety of approaches to local government ethics. Some have a state local government ethics law that is administered at the state level. Some have a state local government law that requires...
Robert Wechsler
Last week, I wrote about municipal corruption scandals in Montreal. This week, I'm happy to be able to write about a report requested by the province of Quebec, which determined that the province's municipalities should all have a code of ethics (only about 10% do now), that the largest cities and the counties should have ethics commissioners, and that financial disclosure and ethics training should be required. Contractors...
Robert Wechsler
Community outreach is usually toward the bottom of a local government ethics commission's priority list.

Googling one thing or another, I came across this memo from the executive director of the Oakland Public Ethics Commission, which includes an invitation to members of the press, government, and community groups to come to an EC "retreat" to share with EC members their views on how the...
Robert Wechsler
Due to President Obama, the word "empathy" is getting tossed around a lot lately. What interests me is that his definition of the word "empathy" is central to what ethicists call "moral imagination." And moral imagination is central to government ethics.

Here's Pres. Obama's definition of "empathy" from his book The Audacity of Hope:

"It is at the heart of my moral code, and it is how I understand the Golden Rule — not simply as a call to sympathy or charity,...
Robert Wechsler
See update below
What is a local government ethics commission's role when a government official has done something illegal or unethical that has nothing to do with the official's work in government? That's the question facing the Knox County (TN) Ethics Committee, according to an article in yesterday's Knoxville ...