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Robert Wechsler
Global Ethics, an organization run by Rushworth Kidder, author of Moral Courage and other books, has a good Ethics Newsline, which you can subscribe to. His lead article this week is about government ethics awards, inspired by what happened in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa.

Robert Wechsler
In your county, a major corruption investigation is being conducted by the FBI. Already, nearly twenty county employees, city building inspectors, and businessmen have pleaded guilty (see an earlier blog post on the investigation). Others are holding out. What do you do?

The usual answer is to create an effective ethics program. In Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, two sets of officials are instead talking about the...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an ugly little case study, based on an ethics complaint filed in September in Hillborough County, the county which includes Tampa. According to the complaint (attached; see below), the county administrator wanted to give herself and the county attorney a 1% salary increase. Salary increases in the county must be approved by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The county administrator asked the county attorney if the raises would be legal without such approval, and the county...
Robert Wechsler
When Is a Confidentiality Waiver Not a Confidentiality Waiver?
It is common for ethics codes to allow respondents in ethics proceedings to waive confidentiality and make the proceeding public. This is what South Carolina governor Mark Sanford did, according to an article in The State back in August.

"Sanford said a...

Robert Wechsler
A week ago I wrote a blog post about preferential treatment, emphasizing that the way to distinguish preferential treatment from ordinary decisions and transactions, where someone is commonly preferred over others, is by whether the treatment is fair and whether the regular process is followed.

Fairness is the principal issue in a preferential treatment question...
Robert Wechsler
One of the more interesting battles in the civil war among Maricopa County elected officials is the Battle of the Civil Division. When the county attorney indicted County Supervisor Don Stapley in December 2008, the board of supervisors decided to take away the county attorney's civil division and create a separate county civil law department.