making local government more ethical

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Family Members/Nepotism

Robert Wechsler
Let's Not Drink to It
Yes, it has happened. Local government ethics has been compared to Prohibition.

Robert Wechsler
An article in the Bismarck (ND) Tribune this weekend raised the issue of when a board or commission member may withdraw from a matter in which he feels he has a conflict, but where there is not a direct, pecuniary interest. It turns out that, back in 2007, the Burleigh County state's attorney had asked the attorney general for...
Robert Wechsler
Usually, in government ethics situations, local officials can get away with doing nothing, especially when the conflict isn't theirs. Few ethics codes have provisions prohibiting complicity in and requiring the reporting of others' ethics violations (see the City Ethics Model Code's provision for a provision that covers both).

That's why I found it refreshing to come across an...
Robert Wechsler
Oxytocin is a hormone released by the hypothalamus portion of the brain which, among other things, makes people trust each other more. In other words, one could argue that local government ethics seeks to increase the release of oxytocin in the brains of people when they think about their local government.

An article in today's New York Times discusses a study that shows how the positive...
Robert Wechsler
An editorial in yesterday's Star Press of east central Indiana calls for passage of a state law to prevent municipal employees from sitting on a body that oversees their department or agency's budget. The focus is primarily on preventing city and county workers from sitting on city and county councils.

The editorial calls it a "no-brainer" because "it's a conflict of interest to have public...
Robert Wechsler
If "conflict of interest" were a cause of action, what would it be? A matter right in the small city next to my town answers this question, and gives a new angle by which to view conflicts.