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Misuse of Office/Special

Robert Wechsler
Here's a good-news story from Delray Beach, FL. But first the bad news. According to an op-ed by Rhonda Swan this week in the Sun-Sentinel, in 2012 the Palm Beach County inspector general "warned Delray that extending its contract with Waste Management until 2021 without seeking bids would violate state and city rules that require...
Robert Wechsler
"The deep problem with the system was a kind of moral inertia. So long as it served the narrow self-interests of everyone inside it, no one on the inside would ever seek to change it, no matter how corrupt or sinister it became — though even to use words like 'corrupt' or 'sinister' made serious people uncomfortable, so Katsuyama avoided them. Maybe his biggest concern, when he spoke to city residents, was that he be seen as just another nut with a conspiracy theory."

This seems...
Robert Wechsler
Here's another story involving the lack of transparency. This time, the lack of transparency involves a company getting government grants.

According to an article from a week ago on, Brevard County, FL's commissioners approved a $205,000 grant for Project Magellan, a business development at the Melbourne...
Robert Wechsler
Consent agendas, also known as consent calendars, are an excellent way to get around the disclosure of conflicts (and, as Dallas showed us in 2011, to amend ethics provisions without a discussion (see my blog post on this)).

A consent agenda is a way to deal, in a single motion and a single vote, with routine, non-controversial items, in order...
Robert Wechsler
While researching my last blog post, I visited the webpage of Tallahassee mayor John Marks, and was thrown for a bit of a loop. The first two paragraphs of his bio look more like an advertisement for his law firm than the bio of a mayor:
John Marks, Mayor of the City of Tallahassee, practices law with his son at Marks and Marks, LLC.  The firm focuses its practice on utility regulation...
Robert Wechsler
Last November, I wrote a long blog post examining an important general advisory opinion from the District of Columbia's ethics commission on the subject of constituent services. Through a list of general considerations, a look at relevant laws,...