About the Board of Ethics

The Board of Ethics, established by Denver ordinance and the City Charter, is an independent agency governed by specific provisions of the City Charter, the Denver Code of Ethics and its own Rules of Procedure.   There are five members of the Board, appointed by the Mayor and by City Council.  Members are all unpaid volunteers and meet monthly.  The Board has one full-time employee, Staff Director Michael Henry. 
Denver has had a Code of Ethics for city officers, employees and officials since at least 1965. The City Council strengthened the Code of Ethics in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2009. Both the Denver City Charter and the Code of Ethics provide “it is the intent of the City and County of Denver that its officers, officials and employees adhere to high levels of ethical conduct so that the public will have confidence that persons in positions of public responsibility are acting for the benefit of the public.”
Read the article Ethics in City Government

Policies and Guidelines

The Board of Ethics wishes to give proper consideration to every request for an advisory opinion or waiver.

Therefore, the Board encourages anyone requesting an official advisory opinion or waiver to:

  1. Submit the request in writing by letter or e-mail to the Staff Director of the Board of Ethics at least ten days before the monthly meeting of the Board of Ethics (on the fourth Thursdays of each month, except for November and December, when the meetings are on the third Thursdays). This will enable the Staff Director to gather information and prepare and mail a report to the members of the Board.
  2. Attend the Board of Ethics meeting so that the person requesting the opinion or waiver may respond to any questions the Board members may have. If the person requesting the advisory opinion or waiver is doing so on behalf of another person, the requester should encourage the affected person to attend and respond to questions.
  3. Exceptions may be made in case of justifiable emergencies.

Adopted by the Board of Ethics: June 22, 2006

The Denver Code of Ethics prohibits City officers, employees or officials from accepting travel or lodging expenses under certain circumstances. In that regard, the Denver Board of Ethics has considered several requests for advisory opinions and/or waivers relating to payment for travel or lodging expenses for City employees by organizations other than the City and County of Denver.  To assist you, the Board of Ethics publishes the following guidelines for your use:

  1. Acceptance of travel and lodging expenses by City officers, officials or employees is prohibited if (i) you are in a position to take direct official action with regard to the donor and (ii) the donor has an existing, ongoing or pending contract, business or regulatory relationship with the City. There is an exception for payment by nonprofit organizations or other governments for attendance at a convention, fact-finding mission or trip or other meeting where you are scheduled to deliver a speech, make a presentation, participate in a panel or represent the City. (Section 2-60, Code of Ethics).
  2. "Direct official action" is defined as any action that involves:
    1. Negotiating, approving, disapproving, administering, enforcing, or recommending for or against a contract, purchase order, lease, concession, franchise, grant, or other similar instrument in which the City is a party. With regard to "recommending," direct official action occurs only if the person making the recommendation is in the formal line of decision making.
    2. Enforcing laws or regulations or issuing, enforcing, or regulating permits.
    3. Selecting or recommending vendors, concessionaires, or other types of entities to do business with the City.
    4. Appointing and terminating employees, temporary workers, and independent contractors.
    5. Doing research for, representing, or scheduling appointments for an officer, official or employee, provided that these activities are provided in connection with that officer’s, official’s or employee’s performance of (1) through (4) above. (Section 2-52(b), Code of Ethics).
  3. While the Board of Ethics has the authority to grant a waiver, it believes that the best interests of the City are served if waivers are not routinely granted. However, the Board of Ethics is prepared in emergency, unusual or exigent circumstances to consider granting waivers. The fact that a City department or agency does not have sufficient budget for travel and lodging expenses is not sufficient to justify the granting of a waiver by the Board of Ethics.

Issued December  2002

Board members are volunteer unpaid positions.  Each Board member must be willing to dedicate himself or herself and the necessary professional time to:

  • Review written case materials and other documents before each meeting
  • At each Board meeting give official advisory opinions to city employees, elected officers and board and commission members about ethics questions and considering whether waivers should be given if a proposed action would violate the Code of Ethics but the action would be in the city’s best interest
  • Review and comment on drafts of Board opinions
  • Review and, if necessary, conduct hearings on complaints filed by citizens or city personnel alleging violations of the Code of Ethics
  • Give guidance to the staff director of the Board of Ethics on policy issues and ethics training issues


Encourage and guide city officers, officials and employees to adhere to high levels of ethical conduct so that the public will have confidence that persons in positions of public responsibility are acting for the benefit of the public

Contact Information

 All requests for advisory opinions, citizen inquiries or complaints must be submitted either by E-mail or in writing to:
Staff Director:
L. Michael Henry
 201 West Colfax Avenue
Dept 703
Denver, CO 80202

Board Meetings

Currently on the third Wednesday of every month

Time: 8:30 am
Wellington Webb Municipal Office Building, Room 2 D 4

Duration:  Two hours

NOTE:  Check the schedule each month as the dates and times may vary.