making local government more ethical

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Ethics Commissions/Administration

Robert Wechsler
Lawyers and confidentiality can both be serious obstacles to the effectiveness of a government ethics program. An ethics case in Trumbull, CT provides a good look at how this can happen.

Attorneys on an Ethics Commission
According to an article in the Trumbull Times last week and...
Robert Wechsler
Allen County, IN
According to an article in the Journal Gazette, Allen County, IN, which includes Fort Wayne, amended its ethics ordinance after a complaint was brought against a member of the county council. It turned out that it wasn't clear whether the ethics ordinance even applied to elected officials, whether the ethics commission could sanction officials, or even...
Robert Wechsler
In June, the Phoenix council took a step toward ethics reform, based on the recommendations of a task force (I critiqued the task force recommendations in an April post entitled "Disappointing Report from Ethics Task Force in Phoenix"). What the council did was approve...
Robert Wechsler
Over the last few weeks, while I was putting the finishing touches on the second edition of the book Local Government Ethics Programs, there was a lot of action in the area of ethics reform. In the next few blog posts, I will summarize the action.

Robert Wechsler
Some people incorrectly believe that a conflict of interest requires an official not to vote in such a way as to benefit himself. That is, if the official might benefit from a vote, it's okay for him to vote against it, because that shows that the official is not seeking to benefit himself.

What is odd is to see this position taken by an ethics commission. This is what happened in...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Denver Post last week,these are the words of Colorado's Secretary of State after the state ethics commission found him in violation of an ethics provision, on account of using state funds to attend the Republican national convention last year:
"As we said from the start, I've had grave concerns about this...