making local government more ethical

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Advisory Opinions

Robert Wechsler
Update: June 20, 2012 (see below)

The saying goes that there are two sides to every story. But more commonly there is a story and ways to spin the story. The problem is telling them apart.

This week, a Daily Oklahoman editorial took to task the state ethics commission, which has jurisdiction over local officials. The editorial's...
Robert Wechsler
I was on a panel this week as part of the annual Citywide Seminar on Ethics in New York City Government, co-sponsored by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) and the Center for New York City Law at the New York Law School. The panel was called "Challenges & Solutions in Government Ethics in Other Municipalities."

I want to share two ideas that were raised by other members of the panel, who included Mark Davies, the executive director of the COIB; Shane Creamer,...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting political activity situation out of La Crosse County, Wisconsin. According to an article in the La Crosse Tribune last week, the county administrator was involved in supporting a referendum to give the city of La Crosse its own administrator. A city or county manager is not supposed to be involved...
Robert Wechsler
According to the blog of Kansas City, MO's mayor, Sly James, the KC Commission on Ethics Reform will be holding a public hearing tomorrow on its draft ethics code.

It's clear from the draft that...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting conflict question. According to an article in the Tewksbury Patch this week, a special town meeting in Tewksbury, MA will soon vote on whether to go to referendum on the question of replacing the town meeting with a council. The question is whether the elected town meeting moderator, who gets a $450 stipend for his work, has a conflict that...
Robert Wechsler
On Saturday, I attended a one-day conference on Institutional Corruption sponsored by the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University (videos of it will eventually appear here). Although local government was scarcely mentioned (there was one image of a painting that portrayed the 1930s machine in Kansas City, MO), many ideas that were discussed are applicable to local government ethics.