Board of Ethics
March 21, 2002
DENVER BOARD OF ETHICS
MEETNG OF MARCH 21, 2002
Chair Harry MacLean called the meeting to order at 1:45 pm. Members Christopher Weimer, Carolyn Lievers, Charles Savage and Denise Maes were also present. Harry MacLean introduced Denise Maes, who was appointed by the City Council on March 18, 2002 to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Marcelina Rivera. All of the other Board members welcomed her to the Board.
It was moved, seconded and passed to approve the minutes of the February 21, 2002 meeting.
Discussion with Career Service Authority Executive Director
Chair Harry MacLean introduced James Yearby, the executive director of the Career Service Authority, who had been invited to discuss his agency with the Board of Ethics.
Mr. Yearby explained that the Career Service Authority (CSA) was established in the Denver City Charter in the early 1950’s and that it deals with the entire “employment function” of the City, except for police officers and firefighters (known as the Civil Service). He said that CSA provides a new employee orientation to all new City employees and that the orientation will explain the Code of Ethics.
He briefly explained CSA Rule 15, which is the “Code of Conduct” for all CSA employees and which was recently updated, and Rule 16, which describes disciplinary procedures. Mr. Yearby said that CSA is now doing national computer background checks on prospective employees if they consent.
Mr. Yearby and the Board of Ethics agreed that they should work together to make the CSA Code of Conduct and the City’s Code of Ethics as consistent as possible and also to discuss such procedural issues as whether or not if an employee is disciplined as a result of a finding by the Board of Ethics of a violation of the Code of Ethics and if the employee appeals the discipline, the hearing officer should conduct a de novo hearing.
Staff Director’s Report – Possible Move to New City and County Building
Staff Director Michael Henry reported that eleven written cases were received by the Board during February, 2002, which is higher than the previous highest month (April, 2001) when seven cases were received.
He said that 134 City mid-level managers have now attended 4-hour ethics training sessions.
He indicated that the office of the Board of Ethics may move into the new City and County Office Building in late 2002, but that has not been finally decided. The Board reiterated its earlier policy that the office quarters of the Board of Ethics must be a separate, independent space and must allow privacy so that citizens and City employees, officers and officials can feel free to discuss ethics issues in person or by telephone without being overheard. The Board authorized Michael Henry to negotiate regarding new office space based upon those principles.
He then reported on the status of the Board of Ethics 2002 budget.
Discussion of Requested Waivers – Case 02-9
Deputy City Attorney Stan Sharoff advised the Board that while the Code of Ethics requires that a “meeting” regarding a request for a waiver must be open to the public, the Denver Open Meetings Ordinance allows any board conducting a hearing to hold an executive session to consider and evaluate evidence and issue a written decision available to the public.
(Board member Charles Savage announced that he would not participate in this case.) Tracy Howard, the Deputy Manager of Safety stated the position of the Manager of Safety in Case 02-9, in which the Manager requested a “general” waiver from provisions in Section 2-59 (b) of the Code of Ethics relating to being in a direct line of supervision over members of the supervisor’s immediate family. He indicated that the Manager of Safety would direct, if the waiver was granted, that employees must notify their agency head if an immediate family member is in the direct line of supervision over another family member and must recuse the supervisor from any personnel actions involving a member of the immediate family. Mr. Howard said that there were approximately 30 family relationships in the Sheriff’s Department, 100 in the Fire Department and 200 in the Police Department. He said that there are frequent movements within all the departments and that the Department of Safety understands the conflict issue and tries to avoid the problems of single-level supervision (where there is only one level separating the two family members).
Lynn Wolf, the executive director of the Election Commission, presented the Commission’s request for a waiver from Section 2-59 (a) relating to the hiring of immediate family members to be emergency substitute election judges and election night workers. He indicated that waivers fro two such election judges and two election night workers would be sufficient and that only two Election Commission employee