making local government more ethical

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Political Activity/Patronage

Robert Wechsler
Some news in Greensboro, NC led me to a blog post on old news in Greenburgh, NY, so here's the new news and the old news about two cities with nearly the same name.

In Greensboro, NC, a council candidate has thrown down a challenge to fill out and post online the state financial disclosure form. It's not quite appropriate, since all its references are to the state, but it does require a good deal of...
Robert Wechsler
"I believe that an alderman's office is a political office," said Chicago alderman Suarez, one of 50 aldermen to get their expense allowances doubled last year, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. Suarez, however, refused to use city funds to pay for his ward office, because "it's hard to draw a precise line between legislative...
Robert Wechsler
See update below:
An issue that arises in many local governments involves campaign contributions from local government employees, which often appear to be coerced or required, that is, they appear to result from a misuse of office by elected officials. Often, it appears that the giving occurs because employees are concerned about keeping their jobs. This concern includes concern about retaliation as well as concern about what will happen if the candidate loses.

Robert Wechsler
Ethics Reform and Ethics Environments
This weekend, the Press-Enterprise ran an excellent editorial about ethics reform in San Bernardino County. Not only do the editors recognize that watered-down, "symbolic" ethics reform is worthless, but they also recognize that even valuable ethics reform, such as a proposed sunshine ordinance...
Robert Wechsler
The Politicization of Officials Selecting Ethics Commission Members
People should not be political footballs, and ethics commission members even moreso. But that's what can happen when officials are allowed to select ethics commission members. According to an article in yesterday's Tulsa ...
Robert Wechsler
Yesterday, the Seattle City Council passed amendments to the city's ethics code, based on recommendations from the city's ethics commission, according to an article in the West Seattle ...