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Robert Wechsler
In an April 2013 blog post, I wrote about the problems surrounding a Florida state senator's request for a state audit of Palm Beach County's EC. That report, drafted by the state legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, has recently been published, and it includes the EC's response to the report (attached; see below).

Robert Wechsler
What can a local official do when he is required to withdraw from a matter that involves a close personal friend who's in hot water due to that official's feud with another official? What do you do when you're caught between a rock and a hard place? The district attorney of Putnam County, NY is faced with this odd and difficult mix of personal and public obligations, at least if what he is saying is true.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
Here's a what-not-to-do scenario of a sort that is too rarely included in ethics training. And yet it's one that could save a lot of officials, as well as ethics programs, a great deal of trouble, and help maintain public trust in local government.

According to an article in Tuesday's Miami Herald, a Miami commissioner, who was pulled over for a traffic...
Robert Wechsler
Ethics provisions dealing with contracts often ignore subcontractors. This leaves open a big loophole, through which an official can get a big piece of a contract by hiding behind a contractor. This is part of a larger problem: ignoring indirect benefits.

According to an article put up last night on the St. Louis Beacon website, this problem arose this week...
Robert Wechsler
Appearances are very important in government ethics. A situation that has arisen with respect to a proposed state audit of the Palm Beach County ethics commission has created serious appearance problems.

Robert Wechsler
I don't get it. Such a big deal has been made out of the Bell, CA officials paying themselves big bucks. This was considered the big local government ethics story of the last few years. The Los Angeles Times won a Pulitizer Prize for uncovering it.

Yes, what happened in Bell was appalling. But what happened in Luzerne County, PA was far, far worse. And yet, for example,...