making local government more ethical

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Family Members/Nepotism

Robert Wechsler
One of the biggest problems people have with government ethics is acknowledging the difference between ethics enforcement and ethics practice. Ethics enforcement is legal. You cannot enforce rules that are not in the law. But when it comes to ethics practice, the law represents only the minimum requirement. The law is what you have to do, but an official can be more ethical, more open, more responsible than what is required. Officials have fiduciary duties that go far beyond the...
Robert Wechsler
Ethics codes do not generally have rules about the involvement of spouses of government officials in citizen groups. But this can create serious appearance problems, as it has in St. Charles, Illinois, an hour west of Chicago, according to an article in yesterday's Chicago ...
Robert Wechsler
So much of government ethics involves the contrast, and sometimes the collision, between ethics and law. Too often the personal aspect of government ethics is overlooked. All three get twisted together in a very simple matter that occurred last week in the Escondido (CA) city council, according to an article in the North County Times.
Robert Wechsler
A year ago, I wrote about New York City Council's earmark funds and the ways they were being abused. Atlanta's council members have a different sort of fund, not intended to help their constituents, but intended to help themselves. They too are open to abuse and, according to an article in yesterday's...