making local government more ethical

The New York Times has been running a series of articles about municipal pension funds (by Mary Williams Walsh, Michael Cooper, and Danny Hakim, August 20, 22, 27, September 1, 4, 2006). The articles focus on two principal problems: (1) pensions have been increased, largely in order to get short-term cuts in negotiations with unions, and (2) calculations to determine the health of pension plans usually have little relationship to reality. Each problem is essentially an ethical problem.

csmonitor.com - The Christian Science Monitor Online

from the June 26, 2006 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0626/p02s01-usgn.html

Boot camp for city officials teaches 'a culture of ethics'

At a seminar in California, municipal leaders learn how to stay on the straight and narrow in times of temptation.

By
Daniel B. Wood
| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

SANTA CLARA, CALIF.

Wearing lanyards and camp T-shirts, the 23 "campers" sat in a circle in the dark around a flickering TV screen. They watched horror videos of real-life public officials who went astray, tempted by bribes, nepotism, and other shady opportunities to benefit themselves over the public they were elected to serve.

http://www.sbsun.com/news/ci_4192705

Colton credit card had phone-sex charges

COLTON State and local authorities are investigating hundreds of phone-sex calls and dozens of hotel bills charged to the city-issued cell phone and credit card of Councilman Ramon Hernandez.

A Classic commentary on the Judiciary - with a comic (if a little sad) demonstration from my own Australia to paint the picture (rather well I thought...)
See the full story here: http://magic-city-news.com/article_6471.shtml

Maybe we ought to make jurists wear see-through robes. There's something about the combination of wearing a black robe, sitting high above the rest of us, and being addressed as an institution ("the court"), that tends to go to judge's heads. Columnist Jimmy Breslin once asked why, in a democracy, everyone should have to rise when a judge enters a courtroom. ...

This year Arizona will vote on a ballot initiative that will give one lucky voter in each election a $1 million prize. Is this an experiment that should be tried?

From: http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=45455
July 4, 2006
Miller's ethics advice travels well

by Bradley Parsons, Staff Writer

As an ethical adviser to politicians, Carla Miller never has to worry about staying busy.

Miller, a partner at Miller, Skinner & Jolly, also serves as the City of Jacksonville''s co-ethics officer. She oversaw the development of the City''s ethics code, which is attracting international attention as more governments grapple with institutional corruption.