making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Is discomfort with a centralized ethics program by various parts of a local government something that should stand in the way of creating one? According to an article in the New Haven Register last week, this has been suggested in a discussion by the board of selectmen of Madison, CT, a town...
Robert Wechsler
Update: December 14, 2010 (see below):

One thing I learned at the COGEL conference last week is that Darleen Druyun, the infamous Air Force procurement officer who favored Boeing before taking a job with it, had been given ethics advice on six occasions and ignored it.

In trying to find something online that said this (I did not), I came across an excellent 2004 Project on Government...
Robert Wechsler

There's an instructive local government ethics situation in the 2008 French film The Class (Entre les murs), which I watched yesterday evening. A teenage student is being given a disciplinary hearing at his public high school in Paris after accidentally hitting a girl with his bag and walking out of his class. His teacher is a teacher representative on the disciplinary committee.
Robert Wechsler
Although the ethics proceedings involving Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) are at the federal level, there is a lot to be learned from them that is relevant at the local level.

Yesterday, Mr. Rangel walked out of a meeting of the adjudicatory subcommittee of the House ethics committee, insisting that he could not afford a lawyer and asking for an extension. He has apparently run up $2 million in legal fees, and his lawyers ended their representation of him when he could not pay. Pro bono...
Robert Wechsler
County Ethics Embraced By Its Cities and Towns
Ethics reform won big in Palm Beach County on Tuesday. The final tallies were published on Friday. According to an article in yesterday's Palm Beach Post, every single city and town in the county voted in favor of applying the county's code to their town. Overall, 72% of voters supported this reform. Even in the town of Palm Beach, whose council and...
Robert Wechsler
Almost two years ago, I wrote about the self-serving nature of attempts at ethics reform in the village of Niles, outside Chicago. A lot has happened since then, but in terms of an ethics program, not much.

According to an article in the Niles Patch, in early October the village's board of ethics agreed, in a 3-2 vote, to send its...