making local government more ethical

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Model Code

All stories and pages related to the Model Code Project

Robert Wechsler

One nearly untouchable aspect of government ethics is the role of parties.

This is less a problem in municipalities than at other levels of government, because most municipalities in the U.S. are nonpartisan, although parties still play a role. But many municipalities and, in some states, particularly in the Northeast, all municipalities are still partisan. And most counties are partisan, as well.

In many cases, partisanship and local government are hard to separate. That is,...

Robert Wechsler

In an upcoming book, The Rule of Law and Development, Michael Trebilcock and Ron Daniels divide developing countries into three groups (according to an article in last week’s Economist):

1. Those where politicians, lawyers, and the public all support legal reform (e.g., Central Europe after the end of communism);
2. Those where politicians support legal reform, but lawyers and the police do...

Jacksonville's Ethics Commission recently went through a two year revision process of their City's Ethics Code. The resulting updates were finally ratified by the City Council last Tuesday night. See the Times Union article below... Note that I will get the code revisions up in a separate blog entry later.


Robert Wechsler

What a nice thing to wake up to: reading in the newspaper that at least some American institutions are using words like 'transparency' and 'accountability' as if they really meant it.

In an article in today's New York Times, we learn that foundations are now publicizing their failures as well as their successes. A consultant to foundations is quoted as saying, 'there's an...

Areas to check:

  1. Using office for private gain
  2. using organization resources for personal purposes
  3. soliciting gifts or accepting gifts from persons doing business with the organization
  4. seeking or accepting private compensation for doing one's work (gratuities)

How to use the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (FSG) to establish or strengthen ethics programs

Purposes of the FSG:

a) Prevent and detect criminal conduct and
b) Promote an...