making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
According to an article in the Tulsa World, last week the city's Ethics Advisory Committee (EAC) ruled in favor of one of its members, Michael Slankard, with respect to an advisory opinion request by the city attorney. This situation raises several interesting issues.

Robert Wechsler
Gifts to local governments have become an issue recently in Sacramento, CA and Richland Hills, TX. I wrote about various aspects of this issue over two years ago. It's time to raise it with respect to concrete examples.

Basically, gifts to local governments by businesses and individuals with a business relationship to the local government carry a strong appearance of impropriety. However, they are generally not...
Robert Wechsler
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It's refreshing to feel good after reading a mayor's statement in response to a warrant for his arrest. According to an article in today's Hartford Courant, Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez...
Robert Wechsler
Here's a more interesting story out of Massachusetts, this one from the state Senate. Former state senator Dianne Wilkerson admits having accepted up to $70,000 from friends and supporters in what is being called personal fundraising, that is, raising money to pay off personal debts. She says that the gifts were approved by the state ethics commission and by lawyers. She...
Robert Wechsler

There are municipal ethics issues that will never find their way into any ethics code, but which should certainly be covered in ethics training courses. Many of these issues involve the relationship between government and businesses.

If there were no money to be made in and through municipal government, there would be far less need for ethics programs. Power does corrupt, but it's no accident that corruption so often involves relations with developers and contractors. It's also no...