making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
According to an article yesterday on, a committee of the Select Board of North Hampton, NH (pop. 4,500) brought to the Select Board its concern about the town administrator dealing with health insurance issues when he was on the board of the...
Robert Wechsler
My last blog post involved the Baltimore Employees' Retirement System board calling in an image consultant to help protect it from an investigation by the city's ethics board. This blog post will look at why...
Robert Wechsler
A Failure to Respond to an Ethics Complaint
It's always interesting to see how many ways there are not to deal with ethics complaints. When you think you've seen them all, a new one comes out of nowhere.

In this case, nowhere is Taylor, Michigan, a city of 65,000 outside Detroit. According to an article in the News-Herald on Saturday...
Robert Wechsler
I recently read a book by Stanley Cavell called Cities of Words: Pedagogical Letters on a Register of the Moral Life (2004). Despite its title, it is not about cities; in fact, much of the book uses movies to discuss this Harvard professor's ethical philosophy. What is relevant about this book to government ethics is Cavell's idea of "moral perfectionism," which isn't about being...
Robert Wechsler
A Municipal Bid Rigging Scheme Comes to Light
According to an article in the New York Times this week, Banc of America Securities (which recently merged with Merrill Lynch) agreed to pay the SEC and others $137 million to settle charges related to a municipal bond bid-rigging scheme. For those who think competitive bidding rules are enough, this case should make you think otherwise.
Robert Wechsler
Problematic Development
According to Harry Themal's column in yesterday's News Journal, the newly elected county executive of New Castle County (DE) wants to review government processes "top-to-bottom." There is just one catch. According to Themal, land use procedures are most in need of reform, but the new county executive's wife is a big land-use attorney representing local...