Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Minutes – September 14, 2009

Approved: November 9, 2009

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
September 14, 2009
Room 408, City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102

I. Call to order and roll call.

Commissioner Harriman called the meeting to order at 5:33 PM.

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT:  Jamienne Studley (arrived at 5:40 PM), Chairperson; Susan Harriman, Vice-Chairperson; Eileen Hansen, Commissioner; Emi Gusukuma, Commissioner.  Commissioner Ward was excused. 

STAFF PRESENT:  John St. Croix, Executive Director; Mabel Ng, Deputy Director; Catherine Argumedo, Investigator/Legal Analyst.

OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY:  Andrew Shen, Deputy City Attorney.

MATERIALS DISTRIBUTED: 
– Memorandum from the Executive Director to Ethics Commission re: Additional proposed changes to CFRO legislation, dated September 9, 2009;
– Memorandum from Executive Director to Ethics Commission re: Proposed amendments to Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, dated August 28, 2009;
– Draft amendments to Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance;
– Draft Minutes of the August 10, 2009 Regular Meeting
– Executive Director’s Report to the Ethics Commission for the Meeting of September 14, 2009

II. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission.

No members of the public were present.

III. Consideration of possible amendments to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (CFRO), San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 1.100 et seq.

Commissioner Harriman stated that the Commission would wait to review Item III until Chairperson Studley arrived and to allow for arrival of members of the public.

IV. Minutes of the Commission’s regular meeting of August 10, 2009.

Motion 09-09-14-1 (Hansen/Harriman) Moved, seconded and passed (3-0; Studley & Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the minutes, without discussion.

Public Comment:
None.

V. Executive Director’s Report.

Executive Director St. Croix stated that the Commission staff has lost a percentage of an employee and the City is enforcing the loss.  Mr. St. Croix stated that he expected to keep all current full-time employees, but the Commission will lose the receptionist.  Mr. St. Croix then stated that an auditor left in August and another one has given notice.  He stated the auditor’s classification position was in a hiring freeze and that he hoped to be able to fill the positions, regardless of the freeze.

[Chairperson Studley arrived at 5:40 PM.]

Mr. St. Croix stated that any new hires for the auditor position would be provisional hires and that the employees would have to pass an examination in order to become permanent.  He stated that filling these positions is critical as there is already a lot of activity related to the supervisorial races for 2010.

Mr. St. Croix stated the need for a closed session to discuss activity with BDR.  He stated that the lobbyist changes are going to the Rules Committee soon and that he expects that the changes should be on target for January 2010.

Commissioner Hansen asked about certain figures quoted in charts in items 3, 4, and 6, including waivers, campaign finance disclosure, campaign finance fees, and fines.  She stated that the numbers do not seem to match and asked the Executive Director to update all of the charts.

Commissioner Hansen also asked about the differences in the budget for campaign finance listed in the July report and the August report.  Commissioner Hansen asked why the budget was $22,000 when it was half of what has been collected previously.  Mr. St. Croix stated that the budget was now cut by a half and that staff is trying to reduce the expected revenue.

Commissioner Hansen then asked about what was being done regarding the lobbyists working for the City.  Mr. St. Croix stated that the program is now up to date and that staff will stay on top of it.  He stated there were several staff changes and the requirement did not get passed onto new staff.  He stated that the requirement to take in filings was in the Sunshine Ordinance, not the Lobbyist Ordinance.

Chairperson Studley asked whether an annual report would be ready at a future meeting.  Mr. St. Croix stated that it would be ready for the October meeting.

Chairperson Studley then stated that she pulled up the priorities set up by the Commission at a past meeting and that she will circulate them to all Commissioners.  She stated that the Executive Director will contact all Commissioners to see what needs to be addressed at a future meeting.  She also thanked Commissioner Hansen for a helpful conversation about the past priorities.

Mr. St. Croix referred to a memorandum for the Commissioners regarding amendments to the enforcement regulations.  He stated that the changes were proposed a few months ago and that he has not heard any feedback from any of the Commissioners, other than Commissioner Harriman.  He asked for feedback so that the amendments could be reviewed at the October meeting.  He also stated an interest in following up with Sunshine issues.

Mr. St. Croix then stated that the October meeting would be on October 19, because of the holiday.  He stated that the meeting will not begin until 6:30 PM, since there were no rooms available at the Commission’s regular meeting time.

III. Consideration of possible amendments to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (CFRO), San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 1.100 et seq.

Chairperson Studley stated that the Commissioners would be working from the August 28, 2009 memo from staff.  She stated that the definition of “person” was open for discussion, as of the last meeting.  Commissioner Harriman stated that her views on this definition have not changed and that she was aware that her view differed from that of Commissioner Hansen.  She stated that she was not going to approve this new definition and that the Commission needed four votes to approve, so there was no need to repeat her position on the definition.

Commissioner Hansen stated that she had not changed her position either, so there were not four votes in the opposing stance either.  Commissioner Harriman stated that she had no issues with the proposed changes in Decision Point #3.

Chairperson Studley stated that if there were not enough votes, then the current definition of “person” remains in place.  Commissioner Harriman thanked staff for its memo, but she stated her view that the definition as proposed was unconstitutional and that she would not support that definition.

Decision Point #3
Commissioner Harriman stated that the Commission should leave the definition of “person” as it is and deal with a change at another time.  She stated that she had no issues with any other changes for section 1.104.

Motion 09-09-14-2 (Hansen/Harriman): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the approved proposed amendments to section 1.104, except for the definition of “person.”

Public Comment:
None.

Decision Point #4

Motion 09-09-14-3 (Hansen/Gusukuma): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the approved proposed amendments to section 1.118(a).

Public Comment:
None.

Decision Point #5
Commissioner Hansen stated that the loan amount should remain at $5,000 and that she approved all of the other proposed changes.  Commissioner Harriman stated that the amount should be increased, but that she would approve the motion so that the rest of section 1.140 could pass.

Motion 09-09-14-4 (Hansen/Gusukuma): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the approved proposed amendments to section 1.140, except for the loan increase.

Public Comment:
None.

Chairperson Studley asked how the Commission would be able to review CFRO again.  Mr. St. Croix stated that the Commission needs to get the manual out for next year and anything that is not adopted will be added to the next round of changes.  Mr. St. Croix stated that the Commission reviews CFRO every year.

Decision Point #6

Motion 09-09-14-5 (Hansen/Harriman): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the approved proposed amendments to section 1.152, without discussion.

Public Comment:
None.

Decision Point #7
Chairperson Studley noted some grammatical errors.

Motion 09-09-14-6 (Hansen/Harriman): Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the approved amendments, as set forth in the draft proposals.

Public Comment:
None.

Decision Point #8
City Attorney Shen noted some typographical errors referencing “per candidate disbursement limit” in section 1.144.  Chairperson Studley thanked Mr. Shen for the review.

Motion 09-09-14-7 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0; Ward absent) that the Commission adopt the proposed amendments to section 1.144(c), after amending typographical errors.

Public Comment:
None. 

Chairperson Studley and Commissioner Harriman thanked Deputy Director Ng for her work on the amendments.

VI. Items for future meetings.

Chairperson Studley stated that many items for future meetings were mentioned during the discussion of the Executive Director’s report. 

VII. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission.

None.

VIII. Adjournment.

Motion 09-09-14-8 (Harriman/Gusukuma) Moved, seconded and passed (4-0) that the Commission adjourn.

Public Comment:
None.

Meeting adjourned at 6:11 PM. 

Respectfully submitted,

_______________________
Catherine Argumedo

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