Request an Advisory Opinion
The Ethics Hearing Board provides free advice to covered parties on how the ethics rules in the City of Pittsburgh Code of Conduct and Home Rule Charter apply to you and your unique facts and circumstances. 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.
How to Request an Advisory Opinion:
Please complete this form and return by email or to by mail to: City of Pittsburgh Ethics Hearing Board, City County Building, Rm. 328, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. 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.
Informal, Quick Answers:
The Ethics Officer can quickly respond to questions from covered parties regarding the requirements of the Code, just send an email or call 412-255-2122. However, please note these informal answers are not binding to you or to the Ethics Hearing Board.
Binding, Formal Advisory Opinions:
A formal advisory opinion is exclusively rendered by the Ethics Hearing Board. These formal advisory opinions are binding upon the Ethics Hearing Board in any subsequent proceeding concerning the particular factual situation to which the advisory opinion referred. In order for the opinion to be binding, the requester must act in good faith and can’t omit or misstate any material fact. The law provides that the Board determines whether something is a material fact. Therefore, for the opinion to be binding, please take care to be truthful, forthcoming and fully disclose all of the relevant details in your request.
A requester of ethics advice may seek reconsideration of a written advisory opinion by the Ethics Officer or the Ethics Hearing Board. 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. Advice stands until it has been amended; it is not suspended pending reconsideration or appeal.
For more information or assistance, please contact Executive Manager Leanne Davis at 412-255-2122.