making local government more ethical

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Advisory Opinions

Robert Wechsler
Is discomfort with a centralized ethics program by various parts of a local government something that should stand in the way of creating one? According to an article in the New Haven Register last week, this has been suggested in a discussion by the board of selectmen of Madison, CT, a town...
Robert Wechsler
Government Executives and the Ethics Commission Selection Process
Should government chief executives appoint ethics commission members or their staff? The common practice is that they usually do. But the common practice is not necessarily the best practice, especially when it puts a conflict of interest at the heart of the conflict of interest process.

This issue has arisen in a very concrete way in Montana, where the governor is faced with appointing a new...
Robert Wechsler
Update: December 14, 2010 (see below):

One thing I learned at the COGEL conference last week is that Darleen Druyun, the infamous Air Force procurement officer who favored Boeing before taking a job with it, had been given ethics advice on six occasions and ignored it.

In trying to find something online that said this (I did not), I came across an excellent 2004 Project on Government...
Robert Wechsler
Yet another court decision discussed at the COGEL conference placed First Amendment free speech rights far above the obligations of a government official, employing a strict scrutiny approach where a simple due process (for statutory vagueness) approach would have been sufficient. This time the official is a member of the Sparks (NV) city council, in fact, the same council member who successfully sued to overturn an advisory opinion of the state ethics commission in a case I carefully reviewed...
Robert Wechsler

I have abstained because some unnamed person tried to question my integrity and silence my voice on this issue. So I was forced to ask the Ethics Officer for an opinion, and she gave me one. She told me I could participate in the debate and that I could actually vote on this issue. But because we're dealing with politics, and, as Jim Maddox always said, you can never take the p out of politics, I've got to think and calculate down the road to see if someone would try to use my vote against...

Robert Wechsler
Update: December 1, 2010 (see below)

Last week, the Texas Attorney General issued a legal opinion on the role of the county attorney in representing and advising the El Paso County ethics commission, which was established in 2009.

The county attorney herself...