Deanne Durfee
Deanne Durfee


A joint effort among the Clerk & Recorder’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office and City Council to streamline the way contracts are approved will allow contractors to begin work on new projects 38 percent faster and will create a $5 million economic impact in Denver. The change was approved by City Council in July and went into effect on August 15, 2015.

After a customer survey showed that 49% of respondents were dissatisfied with the contract process duration, the Municipal Operations team of the City Attorney’s Office began partnering with agencies to improve the contracting process and reduce the contracting process duration. Their goal is to streamline this process to bring contract process average duration down from 48 days to 40 days. And as of midway point of this year, the city’s average contract processing time is 45 days, a three-day improvement on the 2014 average.

The change from getting contracts approved by resolution, which only requires one vote instead of the two separate votes required when approved by ordinance, is resulting in a 10-day decrease of the time between initiating a contract/lease and citizens receiving those services. The time saved in this new process allows contractors to begin work and pay workers sooner.

“Using resolutions for contracts and leases instead of ordinances ensures proper oversight of the process while bringing Denver into alignment with best business practices of similarly-sized cities around the country,” said Shaun Sullivan, Municipal Operations Section Director, City Attorney’s Office. “This employee-driven innovation will ultimately improve the service we provide to people who do business with the city.”

City Council maintains oversight for contracts and leases. Council still will see the contract/lease in committee, at the Mayor-Council meetings and at the full City Council meetings. If any Council member wants to further review a contract, it can be pulled for a one-week review.

The City Attorney’s Office will continue meeting with agencies to analyze agency-specific contract data and metrics, and will continue to schedule meetings throughout the year. They are hopeful that working together with agencies the city can improve client service and the contracting process.

Shaun Sullivan

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