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This Editorial ran in June after the passing of a comprehensive package of ethics reform bills in the Jacksonville City Coucil.

Ethics: This progress was historic

Posted:June 19, 2011

Jacksonville residents have this self-image that we have a progressive government. But consolidation was more than 40 years ago.

In creating a strong culture of ethics in city government, Jacksonville has been left behind - until now.

Update: The bill (2010-616) was passed unanimously by the Finance Committee on Tuesday, leaving it on the consent agenda for next Tuesday's full City of Jacksonville Council meeting: 11/23/2010 @ 5pm

There was an excellent editorial published in the Jacksonville Times Union on Saturday, Nov. 13th which focused on the City of Jacksonville's current legislation 2010-616 being considered by...
Robert Wechsler
Updates: August 4 and 9, 2010 (see below)
I was just saying to someone the other day that the worst offenses in local government ethics do not involve money. The worst offenses in local government ethics involve intimidation, which causes people to lose their peace of mind, their reputations, and the feeling that they may participate in their local government, things no amount of money can buy. And yet it is the rare ethics complaint or arrest that primarily involves intimidation...
Robert Wechsler
In March I wrote a blog post about a situation in La Crosse, Wisconsin where the mayor brought his father, who runs a refuse business, to meet with a county official about a county solid waste assessment. A council member sought advice from the city attorney rather than the city ethics board, and then the mayor said he would put the matter before the ethics board. His father's company has a refuse...
Robert Wechsler
Update: September 23, 2010 (see below)

Lack of transparency and voter indifference, especially relating to technical issues, are often considered minor issues not central to local government ethics. What happened the last few years in Bell, California (pop. 37,000; Los Angeles County) should make people think again about how central transparency and citizen participation are to preventing unethical...
Robert Wechsler
“How he is treated is important. He’s going to fight for his name. Rather than accept language he disagrees with, he would rather fight it out. This is his life.”

These are the words of an adviser to congressman Charles Rangel about why his month-long settlement negotiations with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct broke down.

The committee's lawyers had a different story to tell. According to...