Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Policy Issues

San Francisco voters created the Ethics Commission with a range of duties to help ensure the laws it administers and enforces are effective.

Under the San Francisco City Charter the Ethics Commission has “responsibility for the impartial and effective administration and implementation of the provisions of this charter, statutes and ordinances concerning campaign finance, lobbying, conflicts of interest and governmental ethics.” As part of that responsibility, the Ethics Commission has the duty to recommend to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors laws related to those issues to help ensure the laws are effective.

Importantly, the Ethics Commission also has authority under the Charter to submit directly to San Francisco voters any ordinance that the Board of Supervisors has authority to pass relating to conflicts of interest, campaign finance, lobbying, campaign consultants or governmental ethics. Any measure submitted to the voters directly requires a four-fifths vote of all members of the Ethics Commission and, once approved, is placed on the next general election ballot.

The Commission also reports to the Mayor and Board regularly on the effectiveness of the laws within its jurisdiction, and can adopt rules and regulations related to campaign finance, ethics, lobbying, open meetings, and public records.

To fulfill these policy-related duties, the Ethics Commission analyzes, evaluates, and proposes ordinances and enacts regulations.

Recent Issues and Annual Policy Plan

annual-policy-planThe Ethics Commission’s policy discussions can be followed each month by accessing its monthly meeting Agenda. Legislative and regulatory matters slated for discussion and action by the Commission are identified on the agenda, along with in-depth Staff reports that provide background, analysis, and policy recommendations.

To identify and sequence the policy and legislative matters it plans to address, the Ethics Commission adopted use of an Annual Policy Plan beginning in 2016. The annual plan is designed to be a planning tool to enable the Commission to plan its policy agenda for the fiscal year so it can provide focused attention on key programs and policies. Agendized at monthly Commission meetings as part of the Staff Policy Report, it also helps provide the public with information about when issues are likely to be scheduled for review and discussion to help promote effective public engagement. As new issues or legislative items emerge, the Policy Plan can be updated as necessary to reflect the the Commission’s policy input and direction.

Issues most recently addressed by the Commission appear below:

  • 2017 Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance to reduce the potential for corruption or the appearance of corruption in governmental decision making, by establishing new restrictions and disclosures for certain city officials and the interests that benefit from actions by those officials.
  • New Disqualification Rule Proposed for Board and Commission Members to promote accountable government by preventing board and commission members from participating in governmental decisions if they have failed to publicly disclose their reportable economic interests by deadlines established under the law.
  • New Regulations to enhanced compliance with Ethics and Sunshine Training through synchronized deadlines with Annual Form 700 filing deadlines support the effectiveness of core ethics and open government laws training required of top city officials.

All policy and legislative items the Ethics Commission considers can be followed via the Commission’s Agenda page. We invite you to receive regular updates about all issues considered by the Ethics Commission by visiting our Interested Persons page and subscribing to the Commission’s meeting notices and Agenda.

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