making local government more ethical

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Advisory Opinions

Robert Wechsler
One of the wonderful things about local government ethics is that every mayor or county executive feels qualified to act as if he was establishing the first local government ethics program ever. It's sort of like choosing what will go in a bento box, except that there are no rules (e.g., only one sushi roll, or you've got to have miso or the clear soup).

A new bento box is being put together in the infamous Prince George's County, MD. It was only a year and a half ago that...
Robert Wechsler
The worst recommendation in the Chicago ethics task force's second report (attached; see below) involves the role it wants the corporation counsel to play in the city's ethics program: prosecuting attorney.

I feel strongly that a corporation counsel's office should play no role in an ethics program. See the section of my book Local Government Ethics Programs...
Robert Wechsler

Although the Chicago Ethics Reform Task Force, in its first report, came out strongly in favor of more transparency in government, in its second report it came out strongly in favor of what it calls "...
Robert Wechsler
Yet Another Mayoral Charity Mess, This Time in Toronto
According to an article in the Toronto Star this week and another in the Globe and Mail yesterday, today Toronto's...
Robert Wechsler
An interesting issue has arisen in Louisiana. It involves an important distinction in government ethics, between law and function.

According to an AP article this weekend, the Louisiana Board of Ethics found that a state board of education member may keep both this position and her job as executive director of the New Orleans branch of Teach for America, even though Teach for...
Robert Wechsler
In a long cover story in last week's Fort Worth Weekly, Peter Gorman looked at the state of government ethics in Fort Worth and, most important, some proposed changes to its ethics program that take it in the wrong direction. Since it was the only article on the proposals, and Gorman paraphrased me often (based on an interview), I was waiting for other local newspapers to jump in and confirm what Gorman...