making local government more ethical

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Ethics Commissions/Administration

Robert Wechsler
What just happened in San Diego, according to an article in yesterday's Union-Tribune, is a lesson for local government ethics commission members, especially commission chairs, and even more especially chairs who speak out. Most important, it points out how important EC independence is.

Robert Wechsler
In yesterday's miscellany, I talked about an ethics commission member conflicted due to having played a role in the campaign of an official brought before the commission. There are two ways to deal with such a conflict. One is to deal with it like any conflict, when it arises. The other is to prevent the conflict from occurring.

Robert Wechsler
Ethics Reform and Ethics Environments
This weekend, the Press-Enterprise ran an excellent editorial about ethics reform in San Bernardino County. Not only do the editors recognize that watered-down, "symbolic" ethics reform is worthless, but they also recognize that even valuable ethics reform, such as a proposed sunshine ordinance...
Robert Wechsler
Gov. Sarah Palin's national fame has brought government ethics complaints to the attention of people who had never paid any attention to them. And the result has, in general, been one of distortion rather than education. The latest news has especially distorted the nation's view of government ethics: the argument that defending against frivolous ethics complaints was too costly in dollars and time, and therefore damaging to the state and the people of Alaska, so damaging that the governor...
Robert Wechsler
Ethics Reform Usually Means Ethics Changes
While most people in Massachusetts are cheering on the ethics reform package that was just passed, at least one state representative has focused on the compromises and limitations of the package, calling it a first step. Most responses to scandals are partial rather than changing the entire environment, and in her excellent ...
Robert Wechsler
I don’t care what state you are talking about, you are always going to have one or two people who are going to do the wrong thing. That’s human life. But the bottom line is: I can tell you that my members who are in the House of Representatives are here for the right reason, and I am just a little cautious to make a regulation for one person.

Reaction of Rhode Island House Speaker William J. Murphy to Gov. Carcieri's suggestion