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Local Government Attorneys

Robert Wechsler
Here is a concrete example of the problem of allowing local government attorneys to provide ethics advice that protects local officials, a problem that Florida state senator Jeff Clemens and the Florida League of Cities want to harden into state law in SB 606 (see my recent blog post for a discussion of the problem).

According to...
Robert Wechsler
This is the second of four blog posts on Florida Senate Bill 606 (attached; see below), one of the worst ethics reform bills I have ever read (click here to read the first post, which focused on a provision that provides an additional penalty on complainants in order to...
Robert Wechsler
Some jurisdictions have an ethics provision entitled Prestige of Office that, among other things, limits work that officials can do outside of government. Here is the language that the Baltimore school district uses (this is essentially the same as the city government's Prestige of Office provision, but with the addition of the phrase "public position," which turns it into a basic misuse of office provision):
An official may not intentionally use the prestige of office or public...
Robert Wechsler
It's Not the Dead Bodies, It's the Living Ones
"He knows where the bodies are buried at Metro." According to a local mayor as quoted in an article yesterday in the Surrey North Delta Leader, this is an important qualification for someone going from Metro Vancouver (BC) treasurer to lobbyist for the company that runs the local landfill. It just so happens that the mayor's town is working with...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article yesterday in the Seguin (TX) Gazette, there will be a perfectly ordinary local government ethics occurrence next Monday in Seguin, a town of 25,000 outside San Antonio: the city's ethics commission will meet in closed session to discuss a recently filed ethics complaint.

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with this. But there are two...
Robert Wechsler
The role of the city or county attorney in an ethics program continues to be a major bone of contention, despite the fact that government ethics professionals generally take the position that the city or county attorney should not be involved in an ethics program.

The latest locale for this dispute is Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans with about 430,000 people. According to...