Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – July 13, 2009

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Meeting of July 13, 2009

1.   FY 09-10 Budget. 

As reported previously, the Mayor’s budget released June 1 provided $4,211,566 in Fiscal Year 2009-2010 for the Ethics Commission, which is a four percent increase over the past year’s budget of $4,031,106.  The Budget Analyst recommended a cut of $5,700, which the Budget and Finance Committee adopted and which will be taken out of the Commission’s supplies budget.  At the July 13, 2009 meeting, I will provide a recap of our budget and discuss the Election Campaign Fund.    

2.  Investigation and enforcement program.

Since its last regular meeting on June 8, 2009, the Commission has received two new complaints.  There are currently 16 complaints pending in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Category# of Complaints
Campaign Finance6
Conflict of Interest2
Governmental Ethics2
Lobbyist Ordinance2
Campaign Consultant Ordinance1
Sunshine Ordinance3
TOTAL16

3.   Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The next filing deadline is July 31, 2009 for the First Semi-Annual statements, which covers the reporting period beginning the day after the closing date of the last statement filed, or January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009.  Staff sent a courtesy notice to filers to remind them of the upcoming filing deadline and to inform them about recent updates to FPPC rules and regulations.  Staff has scheduled electronic filing clinics for SFEDS users who wish to have assistance with submitting their campaign statements electronically.  These electronic filing clinics will be held on July 15, 16, and 21 at 12 noon and 4 p.m.  Candidates, treasurers, and/or other committee representatives may use the Commission’s computers to prepare their campaign statements during these scheduled clinics or at any other time during office hours.

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  Campaign finance collections as of June 30th for FY 08-09 totaled $48,673.  Campaign finance collections as of July 8th for FY 09-10 totaled $1,440, based on filings made during previous fiscal years.  By comparison, campaign finance collections as of July 8th in prior fiscal years were as follows:

Fiscal yearCollections by July 8Total collections in FY
02-03$10$49,322
03-04$404$51,607
04-05$0$199,524
05-06$1,871$85,390
06-07$3,991$119,814
07-08$2,565$65,035
08-09$205$48,673

The $1,440 amount is based on prior assessments as follows:

FY when assessedAmount collected in 09-10
08-09$1,440.00
Total:$1,440.00

FY 08-09 waivers, as well as waivers from past years provided for comparison, are as follows:

FY when assessedAmount assessedAmount waived during FY
04-05$907,069$683,086
05-06$546,859$342,901
06-07$181,831$50,347
07-08$217,444$159,880
08-09$322,529$107,176

To date, the outstanding balance of late fees assessed from the current and previous years, including $72,281 in fees that have been referred to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues, is $214,839, down from $218,168 as last reported. 

The current outstanding balance of contribution forfeitures assessed as a result of the defective reporting of contributor information and contribution limit violations is $71,218, down from $71,518 as last reported.  The $71,218 amount consists of forfeitures from the 2005-2006 filing periods and does not include forfeiture assessments from the 2008 filing period.  Staff continues to process requests for waiver of late fees and forfeitures.

c. Status of accounts to San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR).  The following chart provides details on pending accounts referred to BDR:

#Committee/
Filer
ID #Treasurer or Responsible OfficerDate referral effectiveOriginal amount referredLast month’s balanceCurrent balance (Changes are in bold)
1Committee to Elect Rebecca Silverberg1220430Lucia Paulazzo5/6/05$21,086.00$21,086.00$21,086.00
2Yick Tsun Society, Inc.PEN1078Florence Fang8/16/05$7,550.00$7,550.00$7,550.00
3SEIU Local 87PEN951Mike Garcia & Michael Baratz8/25/05$14,350.00$14,350.00$14,350.00
5Johnnie Carter for Community College Board1226264Johnnie Carter6/16/06$9,520.00$7,095.00$6,595.00
7Micheas HermanPEN788Micheas Herman6/26/06$100.00$100.00$100.00
8San Franciscans for Fair & Honest Government1258209Erik Howell10/20/06$4,659.22$4,659.22$4,659.22
9Myrna Viray Lim for District 11 Supervisor1256697Jia Jun Chen4/27/07$3,855.00$3,855.00$3,855.00
10Committee to Elect M. Valle for Treasurer1278937Manuel B. Valle6/14/07$5,525.00$5,525.00$5,525.00
11Shawn WestcottPEN1102Shawn Westcott6/18/07$100.00$100.00$100.00
12Committee to Elect Vilma Guinto-Peoro Supervisor District #21291394Vilma Guinto-Peoro6/18/07$10.00$10.00$10.00
13Bill Barnes for District 51265969Alix Rosenthal1/3/08$3,120$3,120$3,120
14Care Not Cash1244505Ronald Jin2/29/08$5,331$5,331$5,331

d.  Electronic filing.  On April 30, 2009 staff provided 60 days’ notice that committees subject to the electronic filing requirements under section 1.112(b) will be required to file FPPC Forms 461 (Independent Expenditure Committee and Major Donor Committee Campaign Statement) and 465 (Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report) in electronic format starting July 1, 2009.  Electronically filed forms and data will be made available to the public on the Ethics Commission’s web site.  This new electronic filing requirement is in addition to the paper filing requirement.  Forms 461 and 465 were added to the San Francisco Electronic Disclosure System (SFEDS) through the Commission’s contract with Netfile. 

4.  Revenues report. 

For FY 08-09, the Commission was budgeted to generate $175,000 in revenues.  As of June 30, 2009, the Commission received $114,336 as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 65 percent of expected revenues for FY 08-09. 
Revenues Received as of June 30, 2009

SourceBudgeted Amount FY 08-09Receipts
Lobbyist Fees$40,000$33,892
Other Ethics General$1,000$633
Campaign Finance Fines$105,000$47,390
Campaign Consultant Fees$5,000$20,772
Lobbyist Fines$1,000$2,500
Statements of Economic Interests Fines$1,000$1,895
Other Ethics Fines$20,000$6,349
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$980
Total$175,000$114,411

5.  Public financing/Campaign finance audit program.

Staff is working on audits of candidates who received public financing in 2008.  Staff is also preparing candidate and recipient committee training materials for the 2009 election season.

6.  Lobbyist program. 

As of July 1, 2009, there are 42 lobbyists registered with the Commission.  In the 2008-2009 fiscal year, $33,892 in lobbyist fees and $2500 in fines were collected, for a total of $36,392.  The next required filing is July 15, 2009, for the second quarter of 2009.

7.  Campaign Consultant program. 

As of July 7, 2009, twenty campaign consultants are active and registered with the Commission.  In the 2008-2009 fiscal year, $20,722 in registration fees and $50 in fines were collected, for a total of $20,772.  The deadline for the second quarter 2009 report was June 15, 2009.  All active campaign consultants filed quarterly reports; one consultant filed late.  The quarterly report summary and press release have been posted to the Commission’s website.

The next quarterly report is due September 15, 2009.  Staff will send reminder notices to all active campaign consultants two weeks prior to the deadline.

8. Statements of Economic Interests.

April 1 was the deadline for designated officers and employees to file their annual Statement of Economic Interests (“SEIs”).  Staff continues to process incoming SEIs and Sunshine Ordinance Declarations, by logging them into a database and scanning them for upload to the Commission’s website.  A list of filers is viewable on the Commission’s website.

The following table reflects annual statements filed as of July 8, 2009.

FORMFILERSTOTAL # OF FILERS
Statement of Economic Interests (SEI)594629

Upon review, the total number of filers dropped from 690 to 629 because staff determined that 61 annual filers left office in 2008 or earlier and are required to file Leaving Office SEIs instead of Annual SEIs.

On May 6, 2009, staff issued 136 non-filer notices.  On June 8, 2009, staff issued 48 second non-filer notices to those who were unresponsive to the first notice.  As of July 8, 2009, 75 non-filers informed us that they left office, 20 non-filers filed their annual SEIs, five informed us that they hold a position that is not required to file with the Ethics Commission, two filed at the wrong location and are in the process of forwarding the original to us, one e-filed and has not filed an original, and 33 non-filers remain nonresponsive.  On July 8, 2009 staff issued third non-filer notices to these 33 non-filers.  

Enforcement staff continues to audit departments for SEI filing compliance.  Since the Commission’s last meeting, staff has audited the following departments, each of which had a 100% compliance rate:  1) Department of Public Works; and 2) Local Agency Formation Commission.  Staff has completed approximately 80 percent of the 2007 calendar year audits.  For the 2008 SEIs, which were due April 1, 2009, staff is in the process of auditing the 60 departments and commissions for SEI filing compliance.

9.  Outreach and Education.

On June 22, 2009, staff provided an SEI Training for the Civil Grand Jury.  On June 29, 2009, staff provided a Lobbyist Ordinance Training for lobbyists, their representatives, elected officials, the media, department heads, and other interested persons.

Ethics staff continues to provide trainings on conflict of interest laws and the Statements of Incompatible Activities (SIA) to City departments.  The following trainings are currently scheduled for 2009:

  • Department of Children Youth and their Families SIA Training:  July 28
  • Building Inspection Commission, Access Appeals Commission, Board of Examiners and Unreinforced Masonry Building Appeals Board SIA Training:  September 30

10. New Web Site

The Commission has a new web site and address at https://www.sfethics.org.  The new web site offers the following changes, improvements, and technology upgrades:

  • Reorganized content to simplify navigation and a new web site design.  The new design better conforms to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Federal Section 508 web accessibility standards than the previous web site.  This will improve accessibility for users with disabilities.
  • The Department of Technology is requiring all departments to migrate off of the current City web site infrastructure.  The Commission has now completed this migration.  The new web platform is significantly more flexible than the previous platform and provides the ability to use new technologies such as feeds, video, and audio.
  • A public calendar to track Commission meetings, trainings, and important deadlines.  The calendar is viewable on the web or the public can subscribe to it and receive live updates from a desktop calendar application, web calendar, or mobile phone.
  • Commission meeting audio recordings will now be posted to the web.  The public can listen on the web or subscribe to the recordings as a podcast from the iTunes Local Government Podcast Directory.
  • Training videos will be posted in the coming months that will be accessible in the new Education section of the web site and on YouTube. 
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds are available for important news, minutes, agendas and calendar postings.  RSS allows the public to track and be notified of updates on the Commission’s web site without visiting the site.  RSS feeds will also automatically push news posted to the Commission web site to other web sites such as social networking sites.  Commission news updates can now be tracked by users of Facebook and Twitter.  Links on external sites refer the user back to the original source on the Ethics Commission web site.
  • An improved back-end statistical reporting system is now accessible to staff to help better understand how the public navigates and uses the web site.

11.  Statements of Incompatible Activities

In response to a May 26, 2009 memo to all departments, boards and commissions requesting that they provide copies of advance written determinations (AWDs) and summaries of complaints filed under the respective Statements of Incompatible Activities, the Commission received 17 replies.  No complaints were reported; nine AWDs were reported, with disposition as follows:

DepartmentNumber of AWDs ReceivedNumber grantedNumber denied
Public Health110
Office of Citizen Complaints202
Child Support Services110
Planning541

Respectfully submitted,

_________________________
John St. Croix
Executive Director       
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