making local government more ethical

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States and Municipal Ethics

Robert Wechsler
In many states without state enforcement of local government ethics, the compromise position pushed particularly by local government officials is to have the state mandate local ethics codes, but let local governments decide what's right for them. The motto of this position is, "One size does not fit all."

Size does matter, but not nearly as much as is often asserted. A strong ethics code is right for every size town or county. Larger cities and counties can use the same provisions...
Robert Wechsler
Update below (August 19, 2009)
Here's a recipe for conflicts of interest. Create a new kind of county commission to hand out grant money. Require that commission members include representatives from public and private agencies that handle the very services the grants are intended for. Stir until frothy.

What's amazing is that, according to
Robert Wechsler
One of the biggest obstacles to ethics reform in some U.S. states and Canadian provinces is the possibility of state enforcement of local ethics. For example, in Connecticut, there has been talk for years at the state level about either having state enforcement or state requirements. Even though it has all been talk, and the towns and cities have successfully talked it down, the same town and city CEOs have said that it's silly to talk about local ethics reform when something might happen at...
Robert Wechsler
On the legislative immunity front, according to an article in the Providence Journal, a date has been set for the Rhode Island Supreme Court to hear the appeal by the Rhode Island Ethics Commission of the decision upholding the old constitutional legislative immunity clause against a more recent...
Robert Wechsler
Thumbs up for the Virginia House of Delegates General Laws Committee. According to an editorial in today's Charlottesville Daily Progress, this House committee greatly improved a Senate bill on disclosure of conflicts of...
Robert Wechsler
The Michigan House passed a bill in November requiring all local governments in Michigan to set up ethics boards. The bill, which amends the state ethics law, requires that ethics boards either use the state law, which is minimal, or that local governments pass their own ethics laws, with...