making local government more ethical

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Family Members/Nepotism

Robert Wechsler
Government Executives and the Ethics Commission Selection Process
Should government chief executives appoint ethics commission members or their staff? The common practice is that they usually do. But the common practice is not necessarily the best practice, especially when it puts a conflict of interest at the heart of the conflict of interest process.

This issue has arisen in a very concrete way in Montana, where the governor is faced with appointing a new...
Robert Wechsler
What can local government ethics professionals learn from what has come out in the recent indictments of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, the city's director of water and sewerage, Kilpatrick's CAO and CIO, and a city contractor?

Robert Wechsler
"You say that [we are] corrupt and I'll jump over this table and punch you out." Those are the words of Philadelphia city commissioner Margaret Tartaglione, according to an article in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer. She was upset by a journalist's questions regarding the handling of elections in Philadelphia.

What got the...
Robert Wechsler
The spread of corruption from local to state to national is often ignored. And when corruption is discovered, there is much litigation. In fact, it's often hard to see corruption clearly here in the U.S. That's why the occasional look at corruption abroad is useful, like looking in an only slightly distorted mirror.
Robert Wechsler
Teachers and teachers' family members seem to be just the sort of people to run for school boards. They have either the expertise and/or the interest in education. But with them come conflicts of interest, and these can cast doubt on what they're doing there in the first place.

Teachers in the particular school district generally can't run for school board seats, but many teachers don't live in the districts where they teach. This prohibition often applies to their spouses as well...
Robert Wechsler
A Resignation from an Ethics Board for a Possible Future Conflict
A member of the Philadelphia Board of Ethics resigned recently, according to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The reason for his resignation was a possible conflict of interest due to his representation of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) in...