making local government more ethical

You are here

Ethics Commissions/Administration

Robert Wechsler
In May I wrote a blog post about a so-called ethics emergency in Corpus Christi, declared by a lame-duck council at its last meeting. This so-called emergency was the excuse for pushing through ethics reforms without running them by the city's ethics commission or allowing public discussion. The new council quickly suspended the reforms, pending review by the ethics commission.

At least that was the excuse the new council used...
Robert Wechsler
Update - see below (9/2/09)
One of the biggest limitations on local government ethics codes can be state ethics laws. In Connecticut, for example, state laws seriously limit how much local ethics commissions can fine violators of an ethics code. In fact, the language is so vague, many lawyers insist that local ethics commissions can't fine at all. State legislators, most of whom are former local government legislators, don't want to let local ethics commissions get out of hand...
Robert Wechsler
In Jacksonville-- where City Ethics' founder, Carla Miller, is the Ethics Officer -- the ethics commission is taking the lead in ethics reform, according to an article in the Jacksonville Daily Record.

Robert Wechsler
It may be midsummer, but it's still a busy season for local government ethics. Here's how a few local governments are dealing with ethics reform.

Palm Beach County commissioners agreed to create an inspector general and ethics commission, according to an article in the Palm Beach Post. The commission says it will ask voters in November 2010...
Robert Wechsler
Update below
The only thing worse than stacking ethics commissions with politically active, and apparently loyal, members is refusing to renew the term of a member who has been a vocal advocate of government ethics, in other words, a thorn in the side of officials who do not follow the local government's ethics codes. Clever officials know that one or two members of any board can have a strong effect on what the board does.

Robert Wechsler
Open Records Requests and Ethics Proceedings
In an unusual twist on the confidentiality of ethics proceedings, counsel for the Colorado Springs mayor's former client, the person who gave rise to the mayor's apparent conflict of interest, has made an open records request for all documents related to the ethics proceeding against the mayor, according to an article in the Colorado...