making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
There's an interesting issue at the heart of a judicial inquiry into possible misconduct by the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario. The council sought the inquiry to “investigate any supposed breach of trust or other misconduct of a Member of Council, an employee of the municipality or person having a contract with the municipality” and to inquire into “any matter connected with the good government of the municipality or the conduct of any part of its public business." In short, it is an open-ended...
Robert Wechsler
Note: I completely rewrote this post after Mark Davies set me straight about the state law on which disclosure forms an official must file.

Poor draftsmanship of ethics codes can cause serious ethical problems. This is certainly true of New York Municipal Law §811(1)(b), which put Suffolk...
Robert Wechsler
How many wrongs does it take to make a right?

According to a Sun-Sentinel article, a county commissioner in Broward County, home of Ft. Lauderdale, resigned on Tuesday after being arrested on seven counts of...
Robert Wechsler
A situation in the city of Alameda, CA once again points out that government officials dealing with the possibly unethical conduct of other government officials is not a good thing.

According to an article today in the San Francisco Chronicle, the city of Alameda asked the city's outside counsel to investigate whether a council member had disclosed confidential...
Robert Wechsler

Things are moving along well with the Palm Beach County ethics initiative, which I've written about in earlier blog posts (1  2). An inspector general, selected by the ethics commission and two state government attorneys, started work on June 28,...
Robert Wechsler
On Independence Day weekend, it's worth remembering that independence does not come cheap, and that there are some things that are more important than independence.

One of those things is the public trust. There is a serious cost to our society when government officials place their independence from ethics enforcement above the public trust, that is, when government officials insist on legislative immunity. And there is a cost to officials, too:  their trial not by a neutral body in...