making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Election time can be a good time for local government ethics. Good government candidates spout all sorts of interesting ideas about ethics independence, budgeting, transparency, and the like, which are rarely heard between elections.

Take, for example, Leland Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco. His Plan for an Independent City Hall starts off with a call for the...
Robert Wechsler
A very lengthy article in yesterday's News Journal looks at the history of relations between Delaware legislators and Christopher Tigani, formerly the top executive with Delaware's top liquor distributor. The article provides an instructive look at corporate and personal influence.

The story is summed up in a former state senator's...
Robert Wechsler
Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to make small government ethics improvements in Chicago. Yesterday, according to a city press release, the council passed five ethics reforms, all but one of them involving lobbyists. The principal reform is the creation of a searchable online lobbyist registration and reporting system. This will...
Robert Wechsler
It's fascinating how different issues are important to local government officials in difference places at different times. I couldn't say that officials will always dig in their heels and fight this ethics provision, or that another ethics provision never raises an eyebrow.

Take Broward County, FL, for example. After numerous arrests and convictions of local officials, the county commission passed a new ethics ordinace, and the county's citizens voted to have this ordinance apply...
Robert Wechsler
As discussed in an earlier blog post, eighteen months ago the Dallas council, under the prodding of the mayor at the time, passed some ethics reforms. According to a Dallas News editorial last month, only six months later the council backed off...
Robert Wechsler
It's been a year since I last wrote about placement agents, so it's time for an update, based on an article put up yesterday on the Forbes Magazine site, designated for the May 23 issue.

Placement agents are intermediaries between pension boards and companies that invest pension boards' funds. They are paid by the investment companies to win...