making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
One of the things that really ticks citizens off is when a local official uses his position to try to get out of a traffic ticket. The financial benefit may be minor, but there are two things that are major. One is that this conduct suggests that favoritism is common in the government. That is, the expectation and provision of special treatment is an indication of institutional corruption.

The second thing that can be major is the benefit when the charge is not just speeding or...
Robert Wechsler
I have written three blog posts criticizing the ethics program created by Luzerne County, PA in response to one of the ugliest scandals in modern times. Luzerne County finally got its ethics program going this year, swearing in the members of its...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting political activity situation out of La Crosse County, Wisconsin. According to an article in the La Crosse Tribune last week, the county administrator was involved in supporting a referendum to give the city of La Crosse its own administrator. A city or county manager is not supposed to be involved...
Robert Wechsler
Imagine that you're a county supervisor with a $92,000 salary and, despite the salary, you're allowed to hold an outside job (because the county supervisors before you gave you, and themselves, this opportunity). With a sizeable salary, there would appear to be no reason to work in any field that would create an appearance of impropriety.

According to Michael...
Robert Wechsler
Although in 2008, Orange County, Florida's Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform Task Force recommended (report attached; see below) that the county have an ethics board selected by a variety of community organizations, following the model of Miami/Dade County, and Section 2-457 of the county ordinances did provide for (with liberal use of the magic word "may") an ethics advisory board to be selected by the chief...
Robert Wechsler
For the second time in a year, a local ethics commission has been the subject of a grand jury report. The first was San Francisco's (see my blog post). There, it was a civil grand jury and the focus was on the commission. Here and now, it is a criminal grand jury, and the focus is on the county executive and other officials, as well as ethics commission members. The...

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