#MeTooHot Sheet

Denver is drafting sexual harassment policy for its elected officials

Author: Adam McCoy - June 20, 2018 - Updated: June 21, 2018

The Denver City and County Building, its city hall. (iStock)

On the heels of alleged misconduct in the mayor’s office, Denver officials have begun drafting new policies to establish a process for addressing sexual harassment allegations against the city’s elected personnel.

The Denver City Council last week started discussing a “respectful workplace policy,” a harassment policy for the body’s members and offices, and the office of Mayor Michael Hancock is working on its own policy (applying to itself), Denverite reports.

Denver council members said such a policy for complaints against the city’s elected officials didn’t exist following calls for a formal investigation into alleged misconduct by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. Hancock admitted in February to sending suggestive text messages to Denver Police Detective Leslie Branch-Wise when she was an officer serving on his security detail in 2012. 

Currently, a complaint can be filed, but there is no formal process to address it. However, the proposed policy would create definitions of harassment, sexual harassment and retaliation and establish a process for council members to reprimand other members.

While Hancock’s office is crafting its own policy, some council members said their policy could ideally apply to all the city’s elected officials.

Whatever comes out of the drafting process, it won’t include language on expelling City Council members. As Denverite notes, it isn’t possible to remove council members from office, but rather the policy would censure them.

The city’s attorney is also working with the Denver City Auditor and Clerk and Recorder’s offices on new policies.

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.