making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
I've noted on several occasions that indirect conflicts are among the most problematic areas in government ethics. Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It, a new book by Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel (Princeton University Press), looks into some of the psychological aspects of the indirectness problem. The authors' analysis is especially relevant to the use of...
Robert Wechsler
On February 10, 2008, Bobby Jindal, the newly elected governor of Louisiana, said in a big speech:
    Today, we take the first step towards building a better Louisiana where our ethics laws are the gold standard - letting the rest of the world know that corruption will no longer find a home here. The actions that we will take over the coming days will have...
Robert Wechsler
According to an op-ed piece by a county commissioner from Collier County, Florida (in the Naples Daily News), two interesting twists on the gift to an official's favorite charity gambit occurred recently. Gifts to officials' favorite charities are a common way to get around pay-to-play laws. Here is what...
Robert Wechsler
You can learn something from every local government ethics code there is, and especially from codes that have only been proposed. Today I'm going to look at a proposed ethics code for Glen Ellyn, IL, a western suburb of Chicago (pop. 27,000). The proposed code and resolution are attached; see below.

Aspirational Policies
One of the most striking things about the Glen Ellyn proposal is...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article yesterday on, a committee of the Select Board of North Hampton, NH (pop. 4,500) brought to the Select Board its concern about the town administrator dealing with health insurance issues when he was on the board of the...
Robert Wechsler
What can local government ethics professionals learn from what has come out in the recent indictments of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, the city's director of water and sewerage, Kilpatrick's CAO and CIO, and a city contractor?

According to...