making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
When a major newspaper's editorial on a city council's handling of an important ethics issue begins with "Sneaky. Real sneaky." it's something worth sharing with those interested in local government ethics.

Robert Wechsler
Update: The bills discussed below passed the council on March 22.

Just down the road from Philadelphia, Baltimore too is considering ethics reforms, but it's in response to a scandal involving its past mayor rather than in response to the work of a task force.

There are two bills before the Baltimore council, both of them introduced while the new mayor was council president...
Robert Wechsler
Do Chinese walls (that is, mechanisms that separate someone from information or involvement in a matter) work in conflict situations in government? And what considerations determine whether they work or not?

One consideration is whether, even with the Chinese wall, there is still an appearance of a conflict. Another consideration is whether the individual will still have access to the information or still be...
Robert Wechsler
Last December, I listed the major recommendations of Philadelphia's Task Force on Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform in its 58-page report.

According to an...
Robert Wechsler
Influence. It's a big word in a lot of government ethics laws, and a word that those who write such laws should think at least twice about.

As everyone knows, New York Governor David Paterson has been accused by the NY Commission on Public Integrity (CPI) of having violated the state's gift ban by asking for and receiving five tickets to the first game of last year's World Series, at Yankee Stadium. But the reports are, of course, ignoring the language of the law. Here it is:...
Robert Wechsler

New York City's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has an ongoing problem confusing his job as mayor, his ownership of a big media company, and his philanthropic activities. One of the symptoms of this problem is the unusual revolving door he provides for some of his closest advisers.