In addition to the written formal complaints and requests for advisory opinions and waivers, the Board’s staff director in 2006 received approximately 254 telephone, e-mail or in-person requests for unofficial, informal consultation about the Code of Ethics or other ethics issues, as compared with 266 in 2005, 249 in 2004, 192 in 2003, 130 in 2002 and 50 in 2001 – for a total of 1141 since January 2001.III. ETHICS HANDBOOK
The Board of Ethics has exhausted the entire supply of 13,000 ethics handbooks printed in 2002 and 2003. The Board obtained a supplemental appropriation in late 2005 to allow printing of a revised and updated Ethics Handbook, which will be distributed to all city employees in early 2007. IV. ETHICS TRAINING
The Board of Ethics continues to believe that excellent, consistent ethics training is critically important to the successful implementation of the Denver Code of Ethics. All city employees, officers and officials should be trained to recognize ethical issues and to take appropriate steps to avoid unethical conduct.
From 2002 through the end of 2006, 99% of all city employees and officers subject to the Code of Ethics have received at least 3 hours of ethics training. The Board’s Staff Director gave ethics briefings in 2006 to several new Mayoral appointees and to senior staff in several agencies and the Career Service Authority continued to give three-hour ethics training at least once a month to new city employees. In 2006, with support from the Board of Ethics, the Career Service Authority Board amended CSA Rule 6 to require that new CSA employees must receive ethics training before they can pass their probationary period.
The Board expresses its continued appreciation to the Training and Organizational Development Division of the Career Service Authority, agency heads and the many trainers in individual agencies who have made this ethics training effort successful. The Board also looks forward to continued assistance from the members of the Ethics Training Oversight Committee, which provides guidance for the ethics training program.
The Board and the Ethics Training Advisory Committee intend to work during 2007 to develop an updated curriculum to refresh ethics training for all city employees and officers and to develop an implementation plan in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the Career Service Authority. The Board believes that ethics training should not be one-time-only training and should be periodically renewed.V. OTHER MATTERS
Along with the rest of the Denver city government, the Board of Ethics is gradually recovering from the budget shortfalls of recent years. The adopted 2007 budget is $97,600, compared to $86,700 for 2006, $86,000 for 2005, $82,600 for 2004, $96,000 for 2003 and $87,300 for 2002. The 2007 budget includes a one-time only expansion of $5000 to develop a curriculum for refresher ethics training for city officers, employees and officials.STAFF
Michael Henry, the Staff Director of the Board of Ethics, is the sole employee of the Board. The Board encourages citizens, city employees, officers and officials to contact him at 720-865-8412 or firstname.lastname@example.org
.VI. 2007 GOALS FOR DENVER BOARD OF ETHICS
(Adopted February 1, 2007)
A. Continue Development and Implementation of Ethics Training for all City Officers, Officials and Employees
The Board of Ethics, in cooperation with Career Service Authority, has overseen the delivery of ethics training of Denver officers, officials and employees.
The Board should in 2007 and subsequent years continue to pursue this goal by:
a) Developing and overseeing delivery of at least a one-hour refresher course of ethics training, with cooperation from Career Service Authority, city departments and the Ethics Training Oversight Committee.
B. Continue Expeditious Fulfillment of the Board’s Obligation to Receive, Review and Decide Requests for Advisory Opinions, Requests for Waivers and Inquiries regarding alleged misconduct
Between the passage of the new Denver Code of Ethics in January 2001 and December 31, 2006, the five-member Board of Ethics has received and decided 267 written formal complaints, requests for advisory opinions or requests for waivers. The Board’s staff director has also responded unofficially to more than 1150 telephone, e-mail or in-person requests for informal advice.
C. Continue to Suggest Improvements to the Denver Code of Ethics
D. Improve Public Information about Code of Ethics
a) Develop regular articles about Code/Board of Ethics to submit to City departmental newsletters and the city employee newsletter, Insight ;
b) Organize and publicize City-wide and/or departmental informational lunch-time or after -work discussions of ethical issues – twice per year.
c) Seek public comments at that meeting about ethics concerns of citizens.
d) Continue to update and publish digests of the opinions of the Board of Ethics
e) Work with city departments to inform city employees about which departments have stricter codes of ethics than the citywide Denver Code of Ethics
E. Improve Board of Ethics Website
Work with City staff to identify resources to improve the Board of Ethics website. Primary issues should be to make the website more easily accessible, attractive, and easy to read.
F. Develop and Implement Policy for Disclosure of Gifts to the City and County of Denver
Work with the Mayor’s Office, City Council and the City Attorney’s Office to develop and implement a process for disclosure and/or regulation of gifts to the City and County of Denver. Gifts to individual city employees, officers or officials are already regulated by Section 2-60 of the Code of Ethics; however, there is not a systematic policy, consistent for all city agencies and departments, for criteria or public disclosure of all gifts to the city or to city departments or agencies.
G. Continue to Explore with Independent Agencies whether they wish to adopt the Denver Code of Ethics and Utilize the Denver Board of Ethics for Advisory Opinions, Waivers and Inquiries
Continue to explore with independent agencies, such as the Denver Public Library, Denver Housing Authority, Denver Water, Denver Urban Renewal, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Art Museum, the District Attorney’s Office, etc. whether they would voluntarily wish to adopt the Denver Code of Ethics and utilize the Denver Board of Ethics to assist them in training and/or dealing with requests for advisory opinions, waivers and inquiries. This would foster ethical consistency among the independent agencies.
H. Work with Clerk and Recorder’s Office to Provide a Training Class for Registered Lobbyists concerning Lobbyist Ordinance (training provided by Clerk and Recorder) and Gift section of Code of Ethics (provided by Board of Ethics), including a comparison with Constitutional Amendment 41
I._Work with City Council, the Mayor’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office, the Auditor’s Office and the Career Service Authority to Explore a Whistle-Blower Protection Ordinance or Executive Order for City EmployeesVII. SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS FOR CODE OF ETHICS
Section 2-66 of the Code of Ethics, which requires the Board of Ethics to submit an annual report to the Mayor and City Council by February 15 of each year, specifies that the report “shall include any recommendations for modifying the Code of Ethics.” The Board of Ethics suggests that the following amendments would improve the Code of Ethics, based on its experience in administering the Code. (The Code of Ethics was last amended by City Council in September 2004.)