making local government more ethical

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Family Members/Nepotism

Robert Wechsler
It's been a few years since I wrote about the problems with the partisan, or "bipartisan," administration of local elections. One thing that arisen from this year's election is a strong feeling that it is high time that New York City's Board of Elections be reformed. Hopefully, this process will get a great deal of publicity, and become a guide for other communities.

The principal problem in New York City, as in many...
Robert Wechsler
Independent agencies, especially those with lots of money to spend and contracts to enter into, require not just ethics policies, but a comprehensive, independent ethics program. This rarely acknowledged fact has been made clear once again by an external audit of an agency that proved completely unable to self-regulate its officials' and employees' conflicts of interest. The agency is the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which...
Robert Wechsler
A front-page article in yesterday's New York Times provides an excellent portrait of a government official who, although doing much good work, made it all about himself and those with whom he has special relationships. Although his misconduct caught up with him only when it took the form of the alleged sexual harassment of his...
Robert Wechsler
Update: Counsel for the Housing Authority informed me that it was the Authority board, through him, that originally notified HUD of problems, and that another counsel was involved in some of the relevant transactions. Therefore, I have made some changes to the original post.

An editorial in today's New Haven Register sets forth allegations about the West Haven...
Robert Wechsler
Ethics Code Amendment Without a Scandal
Sometimes conflict situations, when they are handled responsibly, lead to changes in an ethics code. This happened recently in Prince William County, Virginia, according to an article on the insidenova.com website.

A county supervisor wanted to give $100,000 of his discretionary funds to his...
Robert Wechsler
A Complex School Board Conflict Situation
Should someone closely associated with an organization that has been awarded a sizeable preschool contract be prevented from sitting on a school board when the contract was not with the school board? That is one of the questions raised by an article this week in the Connecticut Post. The Bridgeport, CT school...

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