making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler

(illustration from, Toronto)

I haven't mentioned billboard companies in my blog. It's about time. Billboard companies can be a serious source of apparent impropriety and corruption in local government. And this is an important time for them, because things are changing in the billboard world. It's no longer mostly about old-fashioned billboards along highways. It's digital supergraphics on buildings and all sorts of 21st-century innovations that...
Robert Wechsler
Government lawyers enjoy exceptions to transparency laws. Should they also be excepted from government ethics laws? Atlanta senior assistant city attorney Robert N. Godfrey thinks so, according to an article in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Robert Wechsler
Do Chinese walls (that is, mechanisms that separate someone from information or involvement in a matter) work in conflict situations in government? And what considerations determine whether they work or not?

One consideration is whether, even with the Chinese wall, there is still an appearance of a conflict. Another consideration is whether the individual will still have access to the information or still be...
Robert Wechsler
Last December, I listed the major recommendations of Philadelphia's Task Force on Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform in its 58-page report.

According to an...
Robert Wechsler
Influence. It's a big word in a lot of government ethics laws, and a word that those who write such laws should think at least twice about.

As everyone knows, New York Governor David Paterson has been accused by the NY Commission on Public Integrity (CPI) of having violated the state's gift ban by asking for and receiving five tickets to the first game of last year's World Series, at Yankee Stadium. But the reports are, of course, ignoring the language of the law. Here it is:...
Robert Wechsler
I recently noted Oakland, CA's odd nepotism ordinance. Well, its Public Ethics Commission is also odd, and worthy of a look. I was alerted to some of its oddities by a recent A Better Oakland blog post...