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Model Code

All stories and pages related to the Model Code Project

Robert Wechsler
Sometimes, those who write or amend local government ethics codes forget to make it clear exactly who is covered by an ethics code. Sometimes there is discussion about who should have to file annual disclosure statements, and sometimes there is discussion about whether volunteers should be covered. But too often individuals and bodies not central to local government are ignored.

There are three groups that are often not expressly dealt with in an ethics code. One is consultants,...
Robert Wechsler
The Baltimore mayor's attorney has, only days after his client was indicted, given a course to drafters of local government ethics codes on how not to define "doing business" with a local government.

The mayor's attorney, in a press conference, pointed out that Section 2-5 of the...
Robert Wechsler
The situation discussed in the previous blog entry also provides a good example of why it is important to have a contract avoidance provision in a local government ethics code. Here is the one in the City Ethics Model Code:

Any contract, agreement, or other business transaction entered into by or with the city which results in or from a...

Robert Wechsler
How do you deal with a department head who helps creates a conflict of interest problem that does not apply to him personally? Few ethics codes contain complicity provisions that deal with this problem. The City Ethics Model Code complicity provision begins: "No one may, directly or indirectly, induce, encourage, or aid anyone to violate any provision of this code...."

According to...
Robert Wechsler
It's pop quiz time. Read the following ethics code provision and hypothetical, and answer the question that follows them.

No public servant shall solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any thing of economic value as a gift or gratuity from any person or from any officer, director, agent, or employee of such person, if such public servant knows or reasonably should know that such person has or is seeking to obtain contractual or other business or financial relationships with...
Robert Wechsler
What stronger personal interest is there than family relationships? And yet so many people don't get the problems nepotism in government poses, at least until it takes a chunk out of their wallets.

Take an article in today's New York Times Week in Review section. In looking at the stew going on over filling Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, with the two principal candidates being a...