making local government more ethical

You are here

Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
A post yesterday in Coates' Canons: NC Local Government Law Blog raises an interesting issue about the situation of a local government candidate who has an interest in a contract with the local government which, by NC law, is prohibited not for candidates, but for a winning candidate the day he or she takes office. This provides a good occasion to look at the intersection of candidates and local government ethics...
Robert Wechsler
Everyone knows about ambulance-chasing lawyers, but until reading an article in today's Citizens' Voice of Luzerne County (PA), I had never heard of hearse-chasing deputy coroners. Maybe I would have known about them if I'd watched the TV show Six Feet Under.

According to the article, funeral home directors in...
Robert Wechsler
How many hats can a local government attorney wear when it comes to government ethics? This question arises out of a state bar grievance filed against Houston's city attorney by a member of the city council.

According to an article in the Houston Chronicle last week, the council member alleged that the city...
Robert Wechsler
The power of the pen is great, and one place that it is especially powerful in the field of government ethics is in summaries and directions. Those who write summaries of ethics laws and directions for filing complaints or other forms can have an enormous effect on government ethics, either intentionally or negligently, by mischaracterizing ethics laws and procedures.

Take, for example,...
Robert Wechsler
Last week, I wrote about a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision invalidating a Montgomery County's ethics code to the extent it applied to the employees of independent agencies, such as the district attorney's office.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
It's fascinating how different issues are important to local government officials in difference places at different times. I couldn't say that officials will always dig in their heels and fight this ethics provision, or that another ethics provision never raises an eyebrow.

Take Broward County, FL, for example. After numerous arrests and convictions of local officials, the county commission passed a new ethics ordinace, and the county's citizens voted to have this ordinance apply...