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Ethics Training

Robert Wechsler
Eula Biss's excellent book On Immunity (Graywolf Press, 2014) is not about legislative immunity, but about immunity to diseases. And yet there is a great deal of food for thought in it about municipal ethics.

The first parallel can be seen in the "mun" in both "immunity" and "municipal." It comes from the same Latin word "munus," which means service or duty. Who knew that...
Robert Wechsler
David A. Marcello, the Executive Director of the Public Law Center at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, has been keeping close tabs on New Orleans' troubled ethics program. In 2011, he published a report on how Hurricane Katrina (2005) led New Orleans' officials to turn a moribund ethics program into one...
Robert Wechsler

Long ago, experts in philosophy, physics, and psychology recognized that reality and perception are not as different as people used to think. And yet people continue to think it. One area where they continue to think it is government ethics.

According to an article in the Stamford (CT) Advocate last week, during an ethics training class for...

Robert Wechsler
The Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL), an association of American and Canadian practitioners in the areas of conflicts of interest, campaign finance, transparency, elections, and lobbying, is looking into the possibility of offering certification programs in these areas. I assume the courses would be both about the topics and about administering programs in these areas. It might involve giving credits for attending sessions at the annual COGEL conference (it's in Pittsburgh this year...
Robert Wechsler
A must-read for lobbying reformers! A series of fascinating amendments that were made to New York City's lobbying law last December will take effect this month. There are some reforms here that I've never seen anywhere else, and they raise some issues that need to be more widely discussed.

The amendments, made in Local Law 129 (attached; see below), are based on recommendations made by a special reform task force, the...
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...