Proper Forum for Advice and Interpretation of Ethics Code

The Denver Code of Ethics makes it clear that the Board of Ethics bears the primary responsibility for formal guidance regarding the intent and meaning of the Code. Inquiries from citizens asking whether an officer, official or employee has failed to comply with the Code must be filed with the City Clerk, who will forward the inquiry to the Board. Requests from city officers, officials or employees seeking waivers from compliance with specific provisions of the Code must be filed directly with the Board.

City employees certainly may discuss questions concerning the meaning, application, and interpretation of the Code with other employees, their supervisors, the Career Service Authority, and, where appropriate, the City Attorney’s office. However, where an employee seeks formal guidance as to whether or not a specific situation or proposed conduct would constitute a violation of the Code, the employee should file the request for an advisory opinion directly with the Board of Ethics. Additionally, supervisors, city attorneys and Career Service representatives should make it clear to employees that they are free at any time to request an advisory opinion directly from the Board with or without previous clearance or concurrence.

The Board would note that the Code does not change the requirement that the requests for approval of outside employment must be filed in writing with the employee’s appointing authority.

The Board would also note that employees are responsible for complying with the ethics policy of their particular agency if one has been adopted.

Approved by the Denver Board of Ethics

Harry N. MacLean