making local government more ethical

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Political Activity/Patronage

Robert Wechsler
The perceived independence of an ethics commission is extremely important. This perceived independence has become an issue in Frankfort (KY), according to an article in Tuesday's State-Journal.

The usual way EC members are selected compromises the perception of their independence. There are two aspects to this problem. One is who selects EC members. In most local governments, it is the mayor,...
Robert Wechsler
Last December, I listed the major recommendations of Philadelphia's Task Force on Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform in its 58-page report.

According to an...
Robert Wechsler

Update: March 1, 2010 (see below)

The political activity of ethics commission members, staff, and ethics officers is an important topic. The issue has arisen this week with respect to Connecticut's Office of State Ethics, according to Jon Lender's Government Watch column in yesterday's...
Robert Wechsler
Last week, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley responded to the conviction of yet another alderman by proposing (i) that the Inspector General's office oversee the city's hiring program for fairness, instead of the Office of Compliance the mayor set up in 2007; (ii) that the IG's office take jurisdiction over the council (...
Robert Wechsler
Update: February 19, 2010 (see below)

This blog post is about Chicago, and things are more complicated in Chicago than in other American municipalities. So please read slowly and carefully.

According to an article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, the first deputy in the mayor's Office of Compliance resigned a few weeks after he...
Robert Wechsler
It's not an unfamiliar story. Council candidates promise ethics reform. They are elected, and actually fulfill their promises with a proposed ethics ordinance. But there's not really much to the proposed ethics ordinance, and there's no enforcement mechanism.

This is what is happening in Yorba Linda (pop. 71,000), just outside Anaheim. The...