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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
When there is a time period in an ethics code investigation or hearing provision, there is always the question:  What happens if some event does not take place within the designated time period? Does that mean that the complaint is automatically dismissed?

This issue arises due to a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court (an appellate court) decision dated March 17 in the case of G. L. v. State...
Robert Wechsler
Update: May 14, 2011 (see below)

An ethics controversy in Hartford presents a perfect opportunity to show the difference between ethics and law, and the right way to approach financial disclosure requirements.

Here are the facts, as reported in two Jon Lender columns in the Hartford Courant Sunday and...
Robert Wechsler
This week, according to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cuyahoga County (which includes Cleveland) passed a new ethics code, largely based on the recommended code drafted in October by the Code of Ethics Workgroup, set up by the Cuyahoga County Transition Advisory Group Executive Committee (the transition referred to is a change in form of government; see...
Robert Wechsler
Two types of independence often clash when it comes to government ethics. It is important that government ethics programs be administered by independent commissions. But independent agencies often do what they can not to be subject to a local government ethics commission.

It is clear which sort of independence is more important, but independent agencies still put their interest in self-regulation ahead of the public's interest in an effective, trustworthy ethics program. This has...
Robert Wechsler
Without giving it any thought, it would be hard to think of a better fit than a city politician running the local chamber of commerce. After all, the goals of a chamber of commerce and of a city government are pretty much the same:  security, good government, good services, low taxes.

But when you think about it more, you realize that a chamber of commerce is not just a cheerleader for the city, but also a powerful organization that lobbies city politicians on a variety of issues,...
Robert Wechsler
Some Problems with Mayoral Executive Orders in Philadelphia
On January 25, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter signed three ethics-related executive orders, which I would love to link you to, but cannot. How effective, except as a way to get the council moving on ethics reform, are executive orders that can't be found online? These orders deal with nepotism, family-oriented conflicts, outside employment, and gifts.