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Government in Action!

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Small Town Management: After haggling for a while at its June 16 meeting, the county board in Lincoln, Neb., finally voted, 2-1, to reimburse Shum Darwin for his pants, which went missing at the jail after Darwin was arrested. The city's liability was clear; the debate was about whether the pants were worth $12 or $10.

The city council of Brooksville, Fla., by 4-1, adopted an appearance policy in June that requires all municipal employees to wear underwear while on the clock and to make sure it is not visible.

Small-Town Politics: In June, the city council of Indian Trail Town, N.C., voted, 4-1, to declare Mayor John Quinn's comments about the council in the town newsletter "whiny" and to ban his remarks from subsequent issues and from the town Web site. The new policy also prohibits Mayor Quinn from talking to any municipal employee unless the town manager is at his side, and requires Quinn to get express permission to enter the town hall except for places open to the general public. 

An investigation by the U.K. TV channel More4 revealed in June that local U.K. councils spend the equivalent of $80 million a year translating their documents into dozens of languages in the cause of "fairness," even obscure languages that few residents speak, and even given evidence that, in dozens of cases, no one has ever tried to access the documents. Translations were found in Albanian, Bengali, Kurdish, Somali, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Sierra Leonean Creole, Karen (eastern Burma) and Ga (Ghana), among others.

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