making local government more ethical

You are here

Business Associates

Robert Wechsler
Update: January 11, 2011 (see below)

According to a July 2 unpublished opinion by Judge Flanagan of the Washoe County (NV) district court, Carrigan v. Commission on Ethics of the State of Nevada (attached; see below), a city council member has a first amendment free speech right to vote where there is not "an actual, existing conflict of interest." (p. 13)

Due process also comes into play in the opinion:  "In the absence of an actual, existing conflict of...
Robert Wechsler
A government official's relationships -- to family, employer, business -- are very important to determining whether conflicts exist. Both the type and the directness of each relationship are also important.

Here again are the basic facts of the situation in Cincinnati that I will be using to touch on a variety of issues (see the previous blog post for a list...
Robert Wechsler

According to an article in yesterday's Chicago Daily Observer, Cook County commissioner Tony Peraica has proposed a series of improvements to the ethics code. Here's a summary of the proposed amendments, taken from...
Robert Wechsler
Do Chinese walls (that is, mechanisms that separate someone from information or involvement in a matter) work in conflict situations in government? And what considerations determine whether they work or not?

One consideration is whether, even with the Chinese wall, there is still an appearance of a conflict. Another consideration is whether the individual will still have access to the information or still be...
Robert Wechsler
This month, in Portland, CT, home of the stone used to build New York City's brownstones, the new ethics commission found that it was a violation of the town's ethics code for the board of selectmen (the town's management board) to hire attorneys who had given campaign contributions to the board of selectmen majority's party town committee, according to the EC's minutes. The contributions of the...
Robert Wechsler
Especially in small towns, bankers often have business relationships with many people and, therefore, do not make the best board and commission members on account of the many conflicts they have or, more frequently, the appearance of impropriety.

According to an article this week in the Asbury Park Press, in Long Branch, NJ (pop. 40,000) there is a dispute concerning the reappointment of...