making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Last week, a resident from one of the towns next to mine (Wallingford, CT) called me for advice regarding his request for an advisory opinion. The request involved the appropriateness of council members affiliated with a church participating in a matter that involved funding for renovation of a wall along the church's parking lot. This is a difficult conflict situation, but some town officials made it much more complicated than it had to be. Not only did the ethics board, mayor, and council...
Robert Wechsler
Update: October 10, 2012 (see below)

So far, I have ignored this year's most famous local ethics proceeding, against San Francisco sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. The reason I ignored it is the reason I am writing about it now:  I think the proceeding should have been dismissed because the sheriff's misconduct involved neither a conflict of interest nor his official duties.

The fact that the complaint was brought by the mayor against an opponent on the city's board of...
Robert Wechsler
It was very refreshing to hear Ann Arbor council member Steven Kunselman, in an interview with Jeanine DeLay of A2Ethics, an Ann Arbor-based ethics organization, talking openly, honestly, and intelligently about some local government ethics situations. The two situations he...
Robert Wechsler
The reason I haven't written about George Anderson is that he has done too much, and been too controversial, for me to get a handle on him. In other words, laziness. He has been an ethics and non-ethics watchdog in Georgia for many years, filing numerous ethics and other sorts of complaints both at the state and at the local level. He heads an organization called Ethics in Government, which does not seem to have a website.

When an ethics watchdog organization was founded primarily...
Robert Wechsler
An interesting issue has arisen in Louisiana. It involves an important distinction in government ethics, between law and function.

According to an AP article this weekend, the Louisiana Board of Ethics found that a state board of education member may keep both this position and her job as executive director of the New Orleans branch of Teach for America, even though Teach for...
Robert Wechsler
I have written three blog posts criticizing the ethics program created by Luzerne County, PA in response to one of the ugliest scandals in modern times. Luzerne County finally got its ethics program going this year, swearing in the members of its...