making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
There is a great deal of misunderstanding concerning the difference between a conflict of interest and a gift. It appears that most people consider them two completely different things. In fact, they represent two kinds of conflicts, pre-existing conflicts and conflicts that are created by an event. The confusion between the two characterizes a situation that led to an ethics complaint in Los Angeles.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
I wrote about it in a June 2011 blog post, and then again in a June 2012 post, but it hasn't gone away. In fact, it became a big issue again this week when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provided new evidence...
Robert Wechsler
Timing is everything. That is the principal lesson to be learned from a conflict situation in West Palm Beach, FL. According to articles in the Palm Beach Post and on the WLRN website, the director of the city's...
Robert Wechsler
When I put in the DVD yesterday evening, I did not expect the movie Admission (2013; written by Karen Croner, based on a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd) to be a revelatory movie about the mishandling of conflicts of interest situations. But it is. Not in government (it's about a university admissions employee), but the situations are easily applicable.

I can't tell the whole...
Robert Wechsler
It came to my attention in an interview with Professor James Svara, for a paper I am writing for the journal Public Integrity, that in March 2013, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) made substantial — sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, sometimes baffling — changes to its Code of Ethics (the revised code is attached; see below). This post will look at the changes that involve conflicts of interest.

Personal Interests
The provision "...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting case study from Hartford, CT. The facts come from an NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters post from Friday and a report of the city's Chief Auditor dated June 27, 2013.

In October 2011, the...