making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
Republican candidates in Cumberland County, in southern New Jersey (pop. 150,000), are pushing for several ethics reforms, including some fresh ideas.

According to an article in the Press of Atlantic City and an article on,...
Robert Wechsler
Update - see below (9/2/09)
One of the biggest limitations on local government ethics codes can be state ethics laws. In Connecticut, for example, state laws seriously limit how much local ethics commissions can fine violators of an ethics code. In fact, the language is so vague, many lawyers insist that local ethics commissions can't fine at all. State legislators, most of whom are former local government legislators, don't want to let local ethics commissions get out of hand...
Robert Wechsler
One of the principal reasons I have devoted myself to local government ethics is that the ethical habits of government officials and politicians are usually formed at the local level. Politicians who become accustomed to a poor local ethics environment bring their values to state and federal government.

The saddest side of this is that many politicians learn at the local level that running on an anti-corruption platform is a good way to get elected, but that once elected, ethics...
Robert Wechsler
It's rare to see the clear results of unethical behavior in local government. Sadly, exceptionally clear results can be seen in a front-page article in today's New York Times.

Jefferson County, Alabama, the home of Birmingham, had a serious scandal involving sewer repairs and bonds, which I wrote about last year (...
Robert Wechsler
It may be midsummer, but it's still a busy season for local government ethics. Here's how a few local governments are dealing with ethics reform.

Palm Beach County commissioners agreed to create an inspector general and ethics commission, according to an article in the Palm Beach Post. The commission says it will ask voters in November 2010...
Robert Wechsler
Open Records Requests and Ethics Proceedings
In an unusual twist on the confidentiality of ethics proceedings, counsel for the Colorado Springs mayor's former client, the person who gave rise to the mayor's apparent conflict of interest, has made an open records request for all documents related to the ethics proceeding against the mayor, according to an article in the Colorado...