making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Some good news from California, which takes an odd, hybrid approach to local government ethics. It has a state ethics commission (the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)) that has limited authority over local officials in the areas of conflicts of interest and campaign finance. And the state has many local government ethics programs, which are all over the place in terms of quality and areas over which they have authority.

The first piece of good news is that the FPPC has...
Robert Wechsler
There is usually another side of the coin, and that other side is often ignored in drafting a government ethics code. The other side of the nepotism coin came up recently in an ethics proceeding in Stamford, CT.

According to an article this week in the Stamford Advocate, a former finance board member filed an ethics complaint against a former...
Robert Wechsler
On April 17, the District of Columbia ethics board filed recommendations for ethics reform with the council (see my blog post on the recommendations). Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie has introduced a bill that includes some of these recommendations (attached; see below). On...
Robert Wechsler
Here's a what-not-to-do scenario of a sort that is too rarely included in ethics training. And yet it's one that could save a lot of officials, as well as ethics programs, a great deal of trouble, and help maintain public trust in local government.

According to an article in Tuesday's Miami Herald, a Miami commissioner, who was pulled over for a traffic...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting case study from Hartford, CT. The facts come from an NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters post from Friday and a report of the city's Chief Auditor dated June 27, 2013.

In October 2011,...
Robert Wechsler
Edward T. Hall's classic book, Beyond Culture (Anchor Books, 1976), is not a government ethics book. But a lot of the wisdom in this brilliant book can be applied to our field.

It's hard to describe this book. It is an examination of certain aspects of culture and of how difficult it...