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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
Some very interesting issues arise out of a past (and present) conflict situation that has become an issue in this week's mayoral primary in the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS ("UG").

The conflict situation appears simple at first glance, but it is not. In 2007, a UG commissioner became the paid executive director of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association ("ANDA"), a nonprofit Community...
Robert Wechsler
The first opinion of the District of Columbia's Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (a searchable copy is attached; see below) raises some interesting questions relating to enforcing unenforceable ethics provisions, vagueness, and publishing evidence and an opinion about a case that is being dismissed before an investigation has been conducted. The opinion also shows that the new ethics board has a long way to go up the learning curve of government ethics.

Robert Wechsler
The FBI had to work hard for years to get a grand jury indictment of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin yesterday (a searchable PDF of the indictment is attached; see below).

A lot of what occurred could have been stopped a long time ago if the city and state had better ethics laws and the city's ethics board was able to initiate complaints and hold public hearings on ethics issues that came to its attention. It appears that every time I read the indictment of a mayor or council...
Robert Wechsler
It would be really helpful if people could find recommendations for ethics reform all in one place, but this rarely happens. Ethics task forces and ethics commissions that ask for such recommendations from good government groups, officials, and academics rarely make them available to the public online. Collections of such recommendations would be a useful resource both for those interested in government ethics in the particular city or county, and for those elsewhere who are considering ethics...
Robert Wechsler
It can never be said too often that the quality of a government ethics code is meaningless. What matters is how the ethics program actually works.

Take Bridgeport, CT for example. It is the largest city in Connecticut, with a population of 150,000. It is a poor city in a rich county, and it has had a history of corruption, including the mayor's conviction on federal corruption charges a decade ago.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
It's been six years since I last wrote about local government ethics in Tennessee. In a January 2007 comment to the forum on recusal, I focused on the fact that the University of Tennessee's Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) (which operates in cooperation with the Tennessee Municipal League) had prepared...