making local government more ethical

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County Related

Robert Wechsler
As I mentioned in a recent blog post, the Broward County (FL; home of Ft. Lauderdale) commissioners are seeking to have an ethics code (enforced by an inspector general; it's being drafted) apply to county employees, as well. For some reason, this not only must go to referendum, but must also be approved by a majority each of state senators and representatives whose constituency touches on Broward County...
Robert Wechsler
Political activity by local government employees can be a sign of misuse of office. And when election problems arise, they generally involve local government employees, as has happened in Essex County (NJ; home of Newark), according to an article in Friday's Star-Ledger.

The principal problem with political activity involves patronage, the...
Robert Wechsler
Many complex conflicts of interest involve the spouses and other close family members of local government officials, as can be seen in Broward County (FL, home of Ft. Lauderdale) according to an article in the Sun-Sentinel.

Robert Wechsler
Worth taking a look at is the work of California Watch in disclosing the use of county party committees to launder campaign contributions far over the legal limits.

The nonpartisan good government organization presents the data in three different forms:

Robert Wechsler
Who expects a wonderful local government ethics surprise to come from New Jersey? Check out the Department of State's Pay-to-Play Ordinances page, which provides links, county by county, of municipal ordinances placing a limited contribution ban on those entering into municipal contracts.

The ordinances are based on a model...
Robert Wechsler

Update: December 30, 2009

Two weeks ago, I welcomed the new Palm Beach County ethics codes. What I didn't realize is how much of the county's government isn't covered by the codes, including other elected officials (and their offices) such as the sheriff, the School Board, the tax collector, the county clerk, the property appraiser, and the supervisor of...