making local government more ethical

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Ethics Codes

Robert Wechsler
Gifts from restricted sources, that is, from those doing business with the local government (and their lobbyists), are exceptionally damaging, in that they make the public believe their officials can be bought or that their officials are running a pay-to-play government. It's too bad that at least some members of the Los Angeles ethics commission don't recognize this.

Robert Wechsler
Whistleblower provisions are extremely important to government ethics, but poorly worded ethics provisions can undermine even the best whistleblower provisions, especially in unscrupulous hands. One such ethics provision is the confidential information provision.

A nurse at a Winker County, TX hospital was charged with felony misuse of confidential information for reporting improper medical treatment by a doctor, according to...
Robert Wechsler

Below are the opinions of two candidates running in a primary for a seat on the Effingham County, GA commission, which perfectly present two very different views of local government ethics, one pseudo-religious (people are good or bad), the other professional (people need guidance):

Robert Wechsler
Update: August 9, 2010 (see below)

You've got to hand it to them:  Broward County (FL) commissioners don't give up. Some of them have fought and fought against the prospect of having a new ethics code, written by the county ethics commission. August 10 is the deadline by which they must either approve the new ethics code, or it will appear on the...
Robert Wechsler
It appeared to be a sign of sheer desperation when former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's attorney, in his closing argument last week, used as a defense the fact that Blagojevich isn't "the sharpest knife in the drawer."

But actually this is a real issue, at least in government ethics. It is often hard to tell the difference between incompetence and misuse of office. Take local government attorneys, for example. Many of them consciously let officials off the hook with poor...
Robert Wechsler
Update: August 2, 2010 (see below)

I've long said that conflicts of interest should not be limited to financial interests or, in other terms, situations where a possible financial benefit or loss is involved (see, for example, this 2009 blog post). My position is confirmed by the twisted yet necessary logic in...