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Model Code

All stories and pages related to the Model Code Project

Robert Wechsler
Update: October 8, 2010 (see below)

There's a fascinating ethics controversy going on in Stamford, CT which raises a number of issues involving time limits, the enforcement of declarations of policy, intimidation, and the roles of ethics commissions and inspectors general.

Time Limits
Stamford's Code of Ethics requires that a decision on...
Robert Wechsler
What is most remarkable about the proposed code of conduct for Santa Fe County (NM) is the fact that it was drafted by the county attorney. It reads as if it were put together by a citizens group in a community that has lost faith in its government officials.

The proposed code starts with a declaration of policy that includes the statement, "this Ordinance establishes a...
Robert Wechsler
Update: September 6, 2010 (see below)

For many local government employees, gratuities are the principal way in which an ethics code affects them, because many ethics code prohibit gratuities. But are they really a government ethics issue? In other words, does a government employee, say a sanitation worker, have a conflict or create an appearance of impropriety by accepting a tip from a citizen for whom he has done routine work?

This issue arose out of...
Robert Wechsler
“How he is treated is important. He’s going to fight for his name. Rather than accept language he disagrees with, he would rather fight it out. This is his life.”

These are the words of an adviser to congressman Charles Rangel about why his month-long settlement negotiations with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct broke down.

The committee's lawyers had a different story to tell. According to...
Robert Wechsler
Time Limitations on Ethics Proceedings in Louisiana, and Why They're Bad
The Louisiana ethics board handles ethics, disclosure, campaign finance, and lobbying for the state and for the state's local governments. It is, like all ethics agencies, understaffed, underfunded, and overstretched. So according to an article in Monday's Baton Rouge ...
Robert Wechsler
As serious as the appearance of impropriety that arises from the council member's family firm seeking TIF money and a tax abatement from the city is the fact that any developer or member of a developer's family sitting on a city council faces not just the occasional ethical controversy, as has been the case in this situation. Such an individual faces an ongoing series of possible conflicts, most of which do not lead to complaints, requests for advisory opinions, or controversies.

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