making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
An ethics controversy involving the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has led to the resignation of four of the seven members of the APS ethics commission, a failure to replace them, and a threat to the schools' accreditation status.

The story starts in 2010, when ethics complaints were filed against school board members for misuse of credit cards. According to...
Robert Wechsler
As discussed in an earlier blog post, eighteen months ago the Dallas council, under the prodding of the mayor at the time, passed some ethics reforms. According to a Dallas News editorial last month, only six months later the council backed off...
Robert Wechsler
Two months ago, a book was published called The Jersey Sting, by two Star-Ledger reporters, Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin. It provides the history of an enormous federal sting operation which led to the arrest of dozens of government officials, most of them from local governments, on July 23, 2009 (see...
Robert Wechsler
Last month, the Obama administration drafted an executive order that would require those seeking federal government contracts to disclose their political contributions, and those of their directors, officers, affiliates, and subsidiaries, made in the two years before they bid for a contract. This draft executive order has been the subject of a great and...
Robert Wechsler
It's been a year since I last wrote about placement agents, so it's time for an update, based on an article put up yesterday on the Forbes Magazine site, designated for the May 23 issue.

Placement agents are intermediaries between pension boards and companies that invest pension boards' funds. They are paid by the investment companies to win pension...
Robert Wechsler
Without giving it any thought, it would be hard to think of a better fit than a city politician running the local chamber of commerce. After all, the goals of a chamber of commerce and of a city government are pretty much the same:  security, good government, good services, low taxes.

But when you think about it more, you realize that a chamber of commerce is not just a cheerleader for the city, but also a powerful organization that lobbies city politicians on a variety of issues,...