making local government more ethical

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States and Municipal Ethics

Robert Wechsler
The story of state legislative interference with local government ethics programs in Florida continues with a newly amended bill in the state senate (SB 1474 is attached; see below), sponsored by senator Joe Abruzzo, whose antagonism to the Palm Beach County ethics program has been the subject of three City Ethics blog posts in the past year (audit of the Palm Beach County...
Robert Wechsler
Why is it so hard for officials, personally or in drafting ethics codes, to let an ethics commission do its work, dismissing complaints that lack validity (i.e., that do not state an ethics violation by someone under the ethics program's jurisdiction or for which there is insufficient evidence)? Why, instead, do they create and take advantage of non-substantive considerations for dismissal of complaints in order to take revenge on complainants?

I ask this question after reading...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Washington Post, two weeks ago, a public campaign financing bill (attached; see below) was introduced, cosponsored by all council members of Montgomery County, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC with about one million inhabitants, home to...
Robert Wechsler
Here is a concrete example of the problem of allowing local government attorneys to provide ethics advice that protects local officials, a problem that Florida state senator Jeff Clemens and the Florida League of Cities want to harden into state law in SB 606 (see my recent blog post for a discussion of the problem).

According to...
Robert Wechsler
After ripping apart one Florida ethics "reform" bill, it's nice to be able to say that Florida's legislative leaders are planning to do some good things this year. According to an Integrity Florida press release today, the senate and house leaders have committed themselves to do the following:...
Robert Wechsler
One of the biggest problems in government ethics is determining whether ethics reforms "work." A well written article in the Advocate looked at Louisiana's ethics enforcement since the reforms instituted by Gov. Jindal became applicable in 2009. Louisiana's ethics program has jurisdiction over local officials.

One of the two biggest changes was to bring in a board of retired...

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