Board of Ethics
December 16, 2004
DENVER BOARD OF ETHICS
MEETING OF DECEMBER 16, 2004
1. Chair Carolyn Lievers called the meeting to order at 1:33 pm. Also present were Charles Savage and Leonard Plank. Christopher Weimer and Leslie Lawson were absent.
2. It was moved, seconded and passed unanimously to approve the minutes of the November 18, 2004 Board of Ethics meeting.
3. Chair Carolyn Lievers reported on the meeting of the Ethics Training Oversight Committee which occurred on December 2, 2004 at which a thorough discussion was held of ways to obtain funding to print and distribute to all city employees an updated ethics handbook (the current handbook is outdated and almost entirely out of stock) and to provide various methods of refresher ethics training to city employees.
4. The Board further reviewed and discussed a draft of the Board’s goals for 2005. It was moved, seconded and passed unanimously to adopt the goals, as follows:
2005 GOALS FOR DENVER BOARD OF ETHICS
I. Continue Development and Implementation of Ethics Training for all City Officers, Officials and Employees.
The Board of Ethics, in cooperation with Career Service Authority and a training consultant, has overseen the delivery of ethics training between January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2004 to 99% of Denver officers, officials and employees.
The Board should in 2005 and subsequent years continue to pursue this goal by:
a) making sure that all new city employees have 3 hours of basic ethics training, either in person or web-based and
b) 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.
II. Publication of Updated Ethics Handbook.
Pursuant to Section 2-65 (a) of the Code of Ethics, the Board prepared, published and distributed 13,000 copies of a 54-page Ethics Handbook to all Denver officers, officials and employees in 2002 and 2003. Very few copies remain in stock. In addition, the City Council passed significant changes to the Code of Ethics in September 2004. In 2005, the Board should seek a supplemental appropriation to re-publish and re-distribute an updated Ethics Handbook.
III Continue with 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 2004, the five-member Board of Ethics has received and decided 123 written formal requests for advisory opinions or waivers. In addition, the Board has received and decided 42 written inquiries or complaints about possible violations of the Code of Ethics, including the conduct of one contested hearing. The Board’s staff director has also responded to more than 580 telephone, e-mail or in-person requests for informal advice.
IV. Improvement of Public Information about Code of Ethics
a) develop regular articles about Code/Board of Ethics to submit to City departmental newsletters and the Spotlight;
b) organize and publicize City-wide and/or departmental informational lunches or after -work discussions of ethical issues;
c) work with Channel 8 to explore possibility of one or more 15-30 minute programs for discussion of Code/Board of Ethics;
d) once per year have a Board of Ethics meeting that is more accessible to the public, such as at 5:00 pm and/or at a non-downtown location and generate notice to community groups.
e) Explore cooperative joint programs with University of Denver’s Center for Civic Ethics to develop community dialogues about ethics in Denver.
V. Improvement of Board of Ethics Website
Work with City staff to improve website. Primary issues should be to make the website more easily accessible, attractive, and easy to read.
VI. Develop Policy for Disclosure of Gifts to the City and County of Denver
Work with the Mayor’s Office and City Council to develop 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 regulated by Section 2-60 of the Code of Ethics; however, a systematic policy, consistent for all city agencies and departments should be developed to require, at a minimum, public disclosure of all gifts to the city or to city departments or agencies.
VII. Explore with independent agencies whether they might wish to adopt the Denver Code of Ethics and Utilize the Denver Board of Ethics for Advisory Opinions, Waivers and Inquiries.
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, etc. whether they would voluntarily wish to adopt the Denver Code of Ethics and utilize the Denver Board of Ethics to assist them in dealing with requests for advisory opinions, waivers and inquiries. This would foster ethical consistency among the independent agencies.
5. Professor Roy Wood of the University of Denver introduced a DU graduate student who presented and led the Board members through an extensive discussion of the ethical dilemmas faced by teachers who receive gifts from parents.
6. It was moved, seconded and passed unanimously to go into executive session to deliberate on Cases 04-47 and 04-48.
7. The Board adjourned following the conclusion of the executive session at 3:15 p.m.
Approved by the Board of Ethics – January 27, 2005