making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Update: August 9, 2010 (see below)

You've got to hand it to them:  Broward County (FL) commissioners don't give up. Some of them have fought and fought against the prospect of having a new ethics code, written by the county ethics commission. August 10 is the deadline by which they must either approve the new ethics code, or it will appear on the...
Robert Wechsler
Updates: August 4 and 9, 2010 (see below)
I was just saying to someone the other day that the worst offenses in local government ethics do not involve money. The worst offenses in local government ethics involve intimidation, which causes people to lose their peace of mind, their reputations, and the feeling that they may participate in their local government, things no amount of money can buy. And yet it is the rare ethics complaint or arrest that primarily involves intimidation...
Robert Wechsler
A failure to deal responsibly with one's conflicts of interest has ramifications beyond the loss of public trust, and all the serious problems that arise from this loss. This failure can also lead to litigation and the overturning of actions by local government officials.

A good example of this can be seen in the case of Rissler v. Jefferson County Board of Zoning Appeals, decided by the West...
Robert Wechsler
Note: I completely rewrote this post after Mark Davies set me straight about the state law on which disclosure forms an official must file.

Poor draftsmanship of ethics codes can cause serious ethical problems. This is certainly true of New York Municipal Law §811(1)(b), which put Suffolk...
Robert Wechsler
How many wrongs does it take to make a right?

According to a Sun-Sentinel article, a county commissioner in Broward County, home of Ft. Lauderdale, resigned on Tuesday after being arrested on seven counts of...
Robert Wechsler

Things are moving along well with the Palm Beach County ethics initiative, which I've written about in earlier blog posts (1  2). An inspector general, selected by the ethics commission and two state government attorneys, started work on June 28,...