Denver council approves ethics exemption after debate over city-provided air travel, freebies

Denver City Council candidate Kevin Flynn ...

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Denver City Councilman Kevin Flynn.

An ethics ordinance change approved Monday will make clear that Denver city officials and employees can accept items of value from within government.

The City Council approved, in a unanimous block vote, an amendment that exempts city officials and departments from being considered “donors” of gifts under restrictions in the ethics code. But it also requires city officials to file new semi-annual public reports listing items received from city government that are worth more than $50.

Council members acted after the Board of Ethics last fall issued an advisory opinion that questioned the providing of freebies, ranging from commemorative items to more expensive things, by agencies or departments when they are seeking contract approvals or other favorable decisions.

But Councilman Kevin Flynn was among those who disagreed with that advice, arguing it was impossible for one part of the city to give a gift to another part. He said Monday that that “the sole purpose of this amendment is to clarify the original intent” of the ethics code.

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