Board of Ethics
October 18, 2001
DENVER BOARD OF ETHICS
MEETING OF OCTOBER 18, 2001
Chair Harry MacLean called the meeting to order at 8:45 a.m. in Room 377 of the City and County Building (the Public Works Department conference room. Present were Board Members Harry MacLean, Marcelina Rivera, Carolyn Lievers and Charles Savage. Christopher Weimer was absent and excused.
The minutes of the September 28, 2001 meeting have not been prepared and will be reviewed at the November 15, 2001 meeting.
Discussion of Proposed Charter Amendment
John Bennett, City Council Staff Director, explained the provisions of a proposed charter Amendment (a new section C5.23-12) on the November6, 2001 ballot, which would permit the City Council to enact an ordinance exempting the employees of any board or commission created by ordinances form the Career Service. The City Council placed the issue on the ballot in August. There are currently approximately ten board or commissions which have their own staff, including the Board of Ethics. Approximately fou of those are currently under Career Service and when the Board of Ethics hires its staff, the staff director will be subject to Career Service unless 1) the charter amendment passes and 2) City Council passes an ordinance exempting the staff director from Career Service.
Stan Sharoff, Deputy City Attorney, indicated that if both of those events occur, the Board of Ethics could adopt its own personnel policies. He also indicated that Federal laws prevent discriminatory employment practices.
The consensus of the Board members present was that; if the charter amendment passes on November 6, the Board of Ethics would prefer to have its staff director exempt form Career Service. A reason given was that any volunteer, part-time board would find it very difficult to document any disciplinary problems to the degree required before discipline can be imposed under the Career Service procedures.
Harry MacLean indicated that a final vote on this issue will be taken at the November 15, 2001 Board of Ethics meeting if the charter amendment passes on November 6.
Harry MacLean reported on the move of the Board’s office to Room 281 of the City and County Building which takes place on October 8.
He also indicated that approximately 15 candidates for the staff director position will be interviewed in mid-November, with a probable start date of January 1, 2001.
Interim Director’s Report
Michael Henry reported further on the office move and invited everyone to visit the new office. Computer and telephone glitches are slowly being remedied. He also indicated that the City Council is expected to vote final passage on October 22 of the Board of Ethics first budget under its own name, which will cover the period October 15 through December 31, 2001.
Ethics Handbook and Ethics Training Report
Marcelina Rivera reported on a meeting of the Mayor’s cabinet on October 17 when she, Harry MacLean, Michael Henry, Jim Nimmer of Career Service Authority and ethics training consultant June Twinam and Catharyn Baird presented the outline of the ethics training program for all City employees.
Michael Henry said that the first meeting of the ethics training oversight task force, which was requested by City Council, will be held soon. Harry MacLean said that feedback is welcome from all Board members regarding the training program and that all Board members shall be invited to the task force meetings.
Marcelina Rivera then had a page-by-page review of the second draft of the Ethics Handbook and several Board members gave suggestions for improvement.
Following the review, Charles Savage moved and Marcelina Rivera seconded that the Board of Ethics approves the second draft of the Ethics handbook, subject to the suggestions made today and subject to final editing by Marcelina River, Harry MacLean and Michael Henry, with publication anticipated in December 2001. The motion passed unanimously.
Rule Change in Confidentiality of Advisory Opinions
Harry MacLean and Michael Henry recounted that the Denver Post had demanded pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act on October 10 to see all of the requests for advisory opinions and all advisory opinions. After consultation with the City Attorney’s Office and after advising all of the persons who had requested the advisory opinions, and after informing City Council representatives, the chair and the interim director did turn over the documents on October 16. The Board received a copy of the cover letter, which contained the following request: “Out of respect for the privacy of City employees, officials and officers, we would hope that you would not publish the requestors’ names or other identifying information unless you find a compelling reason to do so.”
With the background and given the advice from the City Attorney’s office during the last month, Charles Savage moved and Carolyn Lievers seconded that Article V, paragraph 4 of the Rules of Procedure for the Board of Ethics be repealed and re-enacted as follows:
Requests for advisory opinions and advisory opinions are considered to be public records under Colorado Open Records Act. The Board may publish guidelines based on advisory opinion if the advisory opinion may be of general interest and guidance.
It was decided to move the meeting for January 2002 to January 24 to accommodate the chairman’s travel plans.
Charles Savage and Marcelina Rivera moved and seconded to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter, specifically the hiring process for the staff director position.
L. Michael Henry
Approved by Board of Ethics November 15, 2001.