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Ethics Commissions/Administration

Robert Wechsler
How much jurisdiction need a government ethics program have over procurement matters when there is a procurement program dealing with them? This question, common to all cities and counties, is being asked in Honolulu, with respect to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), which will be soon awarding about a billion dollars in contracts.

According to...
Robert Wechsler
Another day, another grand jury report recommending government ethics reform. This report (attached; see below) comes from Orange County, NY, a county northwest of New York City, whose biggest town is Newburgh and whose most famous towns include the very different Tuxedo and Kiryas Joel.

The report criminally exonerates the county legislator who is its subject, because he did a couple things right:  he sought ethics advice from the ethics board, and he disclosed his employment with...
Robert Wechsler
States can make life difficult for local government ethics programs. For example, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun on Sunday, in Maryland, local governments have to use the same rules for access to ethics disclosures as the state does. And the state's rules are designed to prevent access.

The state requires...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article this week in the Sun-Sentinel, the Broward County, FL commission is discussing changes to the countywide ethics program, focusing on gifts and ethics advice.

Gift Bans
Conversations about the problems with gift bans are like Hollywood monsters:  they never die (see ...
Robert Wechsler
Here's an interesting conflict situation from Louisiana that involves a good intra-governmental revolving door provision and unforeseen circumstances. According to an article today in the Advocate, the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board made the wise decision to ask the state ethics board, which has jurisdiction over local officials, whether it could hire the city's...
Robert Wechsler
Earlier this month, a bill came before the Israeli legislature, the Knesset, called the Machers Bill. Its goal is to expand the Knesset's lobbying law to the executive branch as well as to municipalities, something that is rare in American states.

But what is a "macher"? It's a Yiddish term that, in the U.S., is most frequently used with respect to people in the Jewish community who always have their fingers in everything that's going on. They make (machen) things happen...