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Advisory Opinions

Robert Wechsler
Teachers and teachers' family members seem to be just the sort of people to run for school boards. They have either the expertise and/or the interest in education. But with them come conflicts of interest, and these can cast doubt on what they're doing there in the first place.

Teachers in the particular school district generally can't run for school board seats, but many teachers don't live in the districts where they teach. This prohibition often applies to their spouses as well...
Robert Wechsler
Indefinite conflicts can cause a lot of problems for officials. They see them as not yet ripe, not something they should have to deal with yet. But others see them as looming in the future, and want to know how the official plans to deal with them. One such indefinite conflict is the subject of controversy in Tampa, where a council candidate is the executive director of a nonprofit organization that has a large contract with the city to build affordable apartments. This sort of indefinite...
Robert Wechsler
There are some interesting ethics issues being raised in Madison, Wisconsin.

The mayor of Madison was asked to co-chair a committee that will be raising funds to sponsor a national conference of urban designers and developers to be held in Madison. One job for the mayor would be to send out fundraising letters and follow up with phone calls to companies and individuals, including some that do business with the city.

The mayor responsibly asked for an advisory opinion...
Robert Wechsler
According to the Atlanta ethics office's fall newsletter, the Atlanta Board of Ethics reached a settlement with a council member who sought reimbursement from the city for costs related to her campaign newsletter, including payments to campaign workers who distributed it door-to-door in her district just before the 2009 election. She agreed to a fine of $1,500, plus...
Robert Wechsler
An Ethics Matters newsletter from the Atlanta ethics officer is always a valuable occasion for those interested in local government ethics. The fall newsletter is no exception (to subscribe, e-mail [email protected]). This is the first of two blog posts about matters raised in the fall newsletter.
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting twist. The mayor of Watervliet, Michigan (pop. 1,900) resigned in protest after the city commission interviewed one of its own members for the apparently paid position of city treasurer, according to an article in the Herald Palladium on Tuesday.