making local government more ethical

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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
Three years ago, I featured Memphis in a blog post, noting that, in the last six years, 66 government officials, employees, and contractors had been found guilty of various sorts of government-related crimes. Last year, I noted that the city's mayor had resigned under a cloud of accusations. In between, the city and the county (Shelby County) passed ethics codes...
Robert Wechsler
Many jurisdictions have a rule that disallows the filing of an ethics complaint against an elected official within so many days before an election. The purpose of such a rule is to prevent the abuse of the ethics process for political purposes. But is this the best solution to this problem?

Robert Wechsler
Update: October 15, 2010 (see below)

Decision-makers are given too much credit. Most individuals who vote on government matters are non-professionals who are paid little or nothing, and who rarely focus on the matters before their body. They are, therefore, very dependent on staff members who are professionally trained and who are paid to focus on the matters before the body.

And yet, according to...
Robert Wechsler
Update: October 8, 2010 (see below)

There's a fascinating ethics controversy going on in Stamford, CT which raises a number of issues involving time limits, the enforcement of declarations of policy, intimidation, and the roles of ethics commissions and inspectors general.

Robert Wechsler
In Milwaukee County, according to an article in Sunday's Journal-Sentinel, a county supervisor is seeking to add to the county ethics code a confidential information provision that would not limit the prohibition to what is common in ethics codes: information divulged for someone's benefit.

As I've written...
Robert Wechsler
I'm always fascinated by the myriad ways in which local governments approach ethics reform. An article in the Greenwich Time last week sheds some light on the state of ethics reform in Greenwich, CT. (Disclosure: my brother lives in Greenwich, but is not politically involved, at least that I know of; and the article cites a study of local CT government ethics...