making local government more ethical

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Misuse of Office/Special

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 floridaytoday.com, 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,...
Robert Wechsler
Although citizen participation is not part of government ethics, it's important to keep reminding ourselves that it is central to government ethics, because it is a principal goal of government ethics programs.

Officials' ethical misconduct undermines citizen trust and participation, but there are also other obstacles that get in the way. One of these is the lack of opportunity to express opinions in public forums at a time when input can make a difference. This post will look at...
Robert Wechsler
Sometimes Withdrawal and Formal Processes Are Not Enough
It never looks good when a high-level elected official gets a job with the government while in office or soon after leaving office. It looks like he got the job because of his influence and relationships with those who made the decision.

According to an article in the Observer-Reporter, the North...

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