making local government more ethical

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County Related

Robert Wechsler
This week, the Broward County (FL) inspector general filed a Review of the Existing Ethics Structure (attached; see below) of the countywide ethics program that he oversees, and which came into being via charter amendments overwhelmingly approved by the county's voters in late 2010. The 21-page report focuses on a two-part reform recommendation:  (1) an...
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
I am a proponent of ethics waivers. But only if they are provided by an independent ethics commission. When they are provided by high-level officials or their appointees, they appear to be self-serving. Why self-serving? Because they create precedents that will enable those who make the precedents to themselves get ethics waivers.

Westchester County, NY has an ethics waiver process that allows the county legislative body to provide waivers. According to...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Capital Gazette, a former Anne Arundel County (MD) county executive, who was convicted early this year of a misdemeanor for misconduct in office, wants to run for office again, despite the judge ordering, as part of the criminal penalty, that he not be permitted to run...
Robert Wechsler
Sometimes, conflict of interest matters come disguised as election law matters. Most of the time, due to secrecy, laziness, or an inability to draw lines between the dots, no one recognizes the conflict of interest matter. But sometimes, someone gives the game away, and it becomes clear how inextricable the two areas can be.

According to an article in...
Robert Wechsler
A Bakersfield Californian editorial on Saturday points out the kinds of conflict situation that arise when, to save money, a coroner office is brought into a sheriff or police department office.

A conflict situation arises when a coroner is asked to determine the cause of death of a jail inmate, of an individual in police...