making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Ethics Code Amendment Without a Scandal
Sometimes conflict situations, when they are handled responsibly, lead to changes in an ethics code. This happened recently in Prince William County, Virginia, according to an article on the website.

A county supervisor wanted to give $100,000 of his discretionary funds to his...
Robert Wechsler
Corporate executives have obligations not only to stockholders, but also to other stakeholders, including customers, creditors, and the greater community. However, government officials, at least from the government ethics point of view, have overwhelming obligations only to members of their immediate community. Is this right?

Robert Wechsler
A Complex School Board Conflict Situation
Should someone closely associated with an organization that has been awarded a sizeable preschool contract be prevented from sitting on a school board when the contract was not with the school board? That is one of the questions raised by an article this week in the Connecticut Post. The Bridgeport, CT school...
Robert Wechsler
Talk about independent expenditures usually refers to such expenditures in support, or more often in opposition to, federal candidates. At the local level, the major independent expenditures tend to come from unions, both public service unions and construction unions. There are also cases where independent expenditures come from contractors and others seeking direct benefits from the candidates they support or oppose. This can look very much like a payoff for favors done and/or for future...
Robert Wechsler
There is a serious controversy going on right now in Jacksonville regarding the transparency of text messages by local government officials concerning government business. This is an issue where most governments have failed to keep up with technology. That's common, of course. But from a government ethics point of view, what is most important is how the issue is approached.

Florida, which is known for its good sunshine laws, dealt with the issue back in 2009 when, according to...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in yesterday's Washington Post, new allegations have been made of a "shadow campaign" by which the District of Columbia's largest contractor (in contract dollars) supported the current mayor's 2010 campaign to the tune of about 650,000 unreported dollars. The money was allegedly spent on all the...