making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Bullheadedness is unprofessional, at least in most professions. By "bullheadedness," I mean doing what you want no matter whether a professional tells you not to do it or whether your boss tells you not to do it, even if they tell you why and they are clearly right.

One of the professions where bullheadedness is somewhat acceptable is politics. Take the Louisville council, for example. According to...
Robert Wechsler
The Green Bay Packers football team is going to try to win its game today in order to get to the playoffs and seek its first Super Bowl victory since 1996. Before 1996, the Packers hadn't won a Super Bowl since Vince Lombardi coached them there in 1967.

An ethics board meeting is not quite a Super Bowl, but Green Bay's record isn't much better. According to...
Robert Wechsler
I find it fascinating that, although kickbacks (also known as "thanks giving") are one of the central elements of unethical conduct in local governments, I have only mentioned them three times in my blog posts.

Kickbacks are a dirty secret for one principal reason:  they are difficult to prove. Along with bribes, they require hard-to-obtain proof to tie money to conduct. Coincidentally, these are the two forms of conduct that the Supreme Court, in...
Robert Wechsler
County Ethics Embraced By Its Cities and Towns
Ethics reform won big in Palm Beach County on Tuesday. The final tallies were published on Friday. According to an article in yesterday's Palm Beach Post, every single city and town in the county voted in favor of applying the county's code to their town. Overall, 72% of voters supported this reform. Even in the town of Palm Beach, whose council and...
Robert Wechsler
Broward County (FL) voters embraced (3-1) two ethics questions on the ballot yesterday, which applied the new county code of ethics to all municipalities in the county as well as to all constitutional offices (including the sheriff, appraiser, and clerk). They voted 6-1 for the question "Allow counties to show taxpayers the portion of property taxes attributable to constitutional officers." But this...
Robert Wechsler
All ethics oversight cannot be done by an ethics commission. Much oversight needs to be done outside of the complaint process. Even when complaints are made, a lack of proper oversight can leave a big hole in the facts available to an EC. I came across such a situation in yesterday's Bristol (VA) News.