ETHICS HEARING BOARD

Request Advice

The Ethics Hearing Board and its appointed Ethics Officer provide formal or informal advice to parties covered under our Code of Conduct.

Request Advice Here

Cover parties include “current and former officials and employees (and those who, although acting under contract, appear to act as government officials and employees), consultants, applicants, candidates, contributors to campaigns for City elected office, and persons and entities who do or seek business with the City (including the owners and officers of such entities, and subcontractors).” Code § 197.11(a).

Our ethics advice is always

  •  free
  •  confidential
  •  tailored to you

FAQ's

The importance of asking ethics advice.
A CRITICAL function of Pittsburgh’s Ethics Hearing Board— in fact, a critical function of any governmental ethics agency — is to advise persons in advance how to handle potential conflicts of interest responsibly, “do the right thing,” or comply with relevant ethics laws. The goal is to help City personnel and others subject to the City’s ethics laws learn to recognize potential ethics or conflicts of interest issues, stay out of trouble, and avoid ethics problems altogether. But, we can do that only if people contact us. HOW DO YOU GET ETHICS ADVICE? Call. Email. Fill out our advice request form today!


Please complete this form.

Upon the written request of any person covered under this Code, the Ethics Hearing Board must render, within thirty days after the date of its next regular meeting, a written advisory opinion with respect to the interpretation or application of this Code with respect to future actions only.

A requester of ethics advice may seek reconsideration of a written advisory opinion by the Ethics Officer or the Ethics Hearing Board. Advice stands until it has been amended; it is not suspended pending reconsideration or appeal.

A request for reconsideration must be received by the Board within thirty days and allege either that (1) a material error of law has been made; or (2) a material error of fact has been made. The Ethics Officer's decision upon reconsideration may be appealed to the Ethics Hearing Board.

The Ethics Officer or Ethics Hearing Board may also reconsider its advice on its own initiative, providing notice to the requester.

All parties covered by the ethics laws administered by the Ethics Hearing Board can receive advice. Cover parties include “current and former officials and employees (and those who, although acting under contract, appear to act as government officials and employees), consultants, applicants, candidates, contributors to campaigns for City elected office, and persons and entities who do or seek business with the City (including the owners and officers of such entities, and subcontractors).” Code § 197.11(a). 

While you are free to seek other legal advice, please note the Board will not accept advice of counsel as a defense in an enforcement action; only formal advice of the Ethics Officer or Ethics Hearing Board may be considered as a defense. 

The Ethics Officer can quickly respond to questions from covered parties regarding the requirements of the Code of Conduct by phone or email. .

The Ethics Officer is our Executive Director, Leanne Davis. 

Please submit the details of your request for advice here or email:

A formal advisory opinion is provided by the Ethics Hearing Board, usually within a month following a board meeting.  A few examples can be found at https://pittsburghpa.gov/ehb/decisions.

Informal advice is not binding on you or the Board. 

Formal advisory opinions are binding on the Ethics Hearing Board in a subsequent proceeding concerning the same factual situation. For the opinion to be binding, the party requesting advice must be truthful and must fully disclose all of the material facts at issue.