making local government more ethical

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Ethics Codes

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
Should the Josephson Institute's Five Principles of Public Ethics be enforceable by a local government? And if not, why not?

Article I of Allen Park, MI's charter consists of the five Josephson Institute principles, plus one more about "congeniality and productivity." Here...
Robert Wechsler
It came to my attention in an interview with Professor James Svara, for a paper I am writing for the journal Public Integrity, that in March 2013, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) made substantial — sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, sometimes baffling — changes to its Code of Ethics (the revised code is attached; see below). This post will look at the changes that involve conflicts of interest.

Personal Interests
The provision "...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting case study from Hartford, CT. The facts come from an NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters post from Friday and a report of the city's Chief Auditor dated June 27, 2013.

In October 2011, the...
Robert Wechsler
It is a pleasant surprise to find an intelligent conversation about local government ethics in an article and the comments to it. The latest example of this occurred yesterday in the New Haven (CT) Independent, an online newspaper.

The conflict situation involves two instances of lobbying before the city's Board of Zoning Appeals by the city's former...
Robert Wechsler
Prince George's County, MD
Prince George's County had a big scandal involving the county executive back in 2010. The new county executive vowed to make serious ethics reform a priority, and did some valuable things in 2011, according to an article in the...