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Executive Director’s Report – December 14, 2009

For the Meeting of December 14, 2009

1.   Budget. 

The City has asked for mid-year cuts of $85,205 from the Ethics Commission for this fiscal year; the Commission submitted these cuts on December 5.  In addition, the City has forecasted a $522 million general fund deficit for the next fiscal year.  Budget instructions provide that departments identify a 20 percent cut in their budgets and an additional 10 percent contingency cut.  For the Commission, this translates to a $431,322 cut, and an additional $215,661 contingency cut, for a possible total of $646,983 in cuts for Fiscal Year 2010-2011.  The Commission’s proposed budget for FY 10-11 will likely be due on February 1, 2010.   

2.  Investigation and enforcement program.

Since its last regular meeting on November 9, 2009, the Commission has received no new complaints.  There are currently 11 complaints pending in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 5
Conflict of Interest 3
Governmental Ethics 1
Lobbyist Ordinance 0
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 0
Sunshine Ordinance 2

3.   Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The next filing deadline is February 1, 2010 for the Second Semi-Annual statement, which covers the reporting period beginning the day after the closing date of the last statement filed.  If a person has not filed a campaign disclosure report in 2009, the reporting period is January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009.  Several candidates have already expressed an interest in running for office in November 2010.  Staff has been conducting outreach for such potential candidates.  Outreach to potential candidates includes contacting and setting up a one-on-one appointment with the candidate and/or his or her treasurer to discuss campaign finance processes and requirements.  The purpose of this outreach is to inform first-time candidates and treasurers of their filing obligations prior to them engaging in campaign finance activity. As of December 4, the Campaign Finance Officer has met with 12 potential candidates for the November 2, 2010 election.

The Ethics Commission will hold required candidate trainings for the November 2, 2010 election starting January 12, 2010.  A notice about the training dates has been emailed and mailed to all potential candidates.  A list of training dates is available on the Commission’s website.

Staff is providing training to new staff who joined the Commission as a result of recent City-wide bumping. 

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  Campaign finance collections as of December 8 for FY 09-10 totaled $32,490, based on filings made during previous fiscal years and the current fiscal year.  By comparison, campaign finance collections as of December 8 in prior fiscal years were as follows:

Fiscal year Collections by Dec. 8 Total collections in FY
02-03 $15,080 $49,322
03-04 $22,410 $51,607
04-05 $31,363 $199,524
05-06 $16,320 $85,390
06-07 $29,963 $119,814
07-08 $47,599 $65,035
08-09 $10,477 $48,673

The $32,490 amount is based on prior assessments as follows:

FY when assessed Amount collected in 09-10
04-05 $5,062.50
05-06 $0
06-07 $480.00
07-08 $3,059.25
08-09 $22,210.28
09-10 $1,678.43
Total: $32,490.46

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

FY when assessed Amount assessed Amount 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
09-10 $40,247 $19,182

To date, the outstanding balance of late fees assessed from the current and previous years, including $68,501 in fees that have been referred to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues, is $136,931, down from $160,049 as last reported. 

The current outstanding balance of contribution forfeitures assessed as a result of the defective reporting of contributor information is $19,834, down from $26,334 as last reported.  The $19,834 amount consists of forfeitures from the 2005-2006 filing periods and does not include forfeiture assessments from the 2008 filing period. 

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

# Committee/
ID # Treasurer or Responsible Officer Date referral effective Original amount referred Last month’s balance Current balance (Changes are in bold)
1 Committee to Elect Rebecca Silverberg 1220430 Lucia Paulazzo 5/6/05 $21,086.00 $21,086.00 $21,086.00
2 Yick Tsun Society, Inc. PEN1078 Florence Fang 8/16/05 $7,550.00 $7,550.00 $7,550.00
3 SEIU Local 87 PEN951 Mike Garcia & Michael Baratz 8/25/05 $14,350.00 $14,350.00 $7,600.00
5 Johnnie Carter for Community College Board 1226264 Johnnie Carter 6/16/06 $9,520.00 $6,595.00 $6,595.00
7 Micheas Herman PEN788 Micheas Herman 6/26/06 $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
8 San Franciscans for Fair & Honest Government 1258209 Erik Howell 10/20/06 $4,659.22 $4,659.22 $4,659.22
9 Myrna Viray Lim for District 11 Supervisor 1256697 Jia Jun Chen 4/27/07 $3,855.00 $3,855.00 $3,855.00
10 Committee to Elect M. Valle for Treasurer 1278937 Manuel B. Valle 6/14/07 $5,525.00 $5,525.00 $5,525.00
11 Shawn Westcott PEN1102 Shawn Westcott 6/18/07 $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
12 Committee to Elect Vilma Guinto-Peoro Supervisor District #2 1291394 Vilma Guinto-Peoro 6/18/07 $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
13 Bill Barnes for District 5 1265969 Alix Rosenthal 1/3/08 $3,120 $3,110 $3,110
14 Care Not Cash 1244505 Ronald Jin 2/29/08 $5,331 $5,331 $5,331
15 Omar Khalif for Board of Educ. 1287030 Omar Khalif 7/30/09 $1,800 $1,800 $1,800
16 Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup 1306882 Myrna Lim 7/30/09 $1,180 $1,180 $1,180

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 09-10, the Commission is budgeted to generate $50,000 in revenues.  As of December
8, 2009, the Commission received $40,464 as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 81 percent of expected revenues for FY 09-10. 

Revenues Received as of December 8, 2009

Source Budgeted Amount FY 09-10 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $8,000 $1,856
Other Ethics General $1,000 $49
Campaign Finance Fines $22,000 $32,424
Campaign Consultant Fees $15,000 $3,500
Lobbyist Fines $1,000 $400
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000 $1,380
Other Ethics Fines $1,000 $855
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000  
Total $50,000 $40,464

5.  Public financing/Campaign finance audit program.

Staff is working on audits of candidates who received public financing in 2008.  In order to incorporate recent changes to CFRO, staff is updating forms and manuals for the November 2010 election.

6.  Lobbyist program. 

As of November 30, 2009, there were 38 lobbyists registered with the Commission.  In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, $1,856.25 in lobbyist fees and $400.00 in fines have been collected, for a total of $2,256.25.  The fourth quarter 2009 filing deadline is January 15, 2010. 

Beginning January 1, 2010, lobbyists will be required to file on a monthly basis, with the first report due by February 15, 2010, covering the period January 1-31, 2010.

7.  Campaign Consultant program. 

As of December 8, 2009, 27 campaign consultants are active and registered with the Commission.  $3,500 in registration fees have been collected in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. 

The next quarterly report is due December 15, 2009.  Staff has mailed reminder notices to all active campaign consultants.  Staff will notify all active campaign consultants regarding the annual re-registration deadline, which falls on January 4, 2010.

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.

Enforcement staff continues to audit departments for SEI filing compliance for 2007 and 2008.  Staff is also reviewing all SEIs filed with the Commission.

9.  Outreach and Education.

On November 6, 2009, staff met with a delegation of 20 members from the China Ninxia Public Administration Training Group.  The delegation was hosted by the U.S. – China Exchange Council, a California non-profit that has exchanged delegates between the U.S. and China for education and friendship development purposes.  The group was interested in discussing the work of the Ethics Commission, conflicts of interest, government integrity and the prevention of corruption. 

On November 24, staff met with a delegation of 15 members of the China Academy of Social Science Training Group, which was also hosted by the U.S. – China Exchange Council. 

On December 4, staff facilitated a Governmental Ethics and Statements of Incompatible Activities (SIA) Training to the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families.  Despite recent staffing changes, the Ethics Commission will continue to offer the SIA Trainings.  The Ethics Training for City Employees, SIA Training, and Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) Training will be offered online.

The following trainings are the currently scheduled in-person trainings for 2010:

  • Lobbyist Ordinance Training:  January 13
  • Candidates’ Training:  January 12, May 12, July 15, and August 19,
  • Understanding Expenditure Ceilings:  September 21

In addition to in-person trainings, the staff has produced and posted the various web trainings on the Ethics Commission website under “Education.”  The following trainings are currently available on the website:

  • Training for Treasurers of Non-Candidate Recipient Committees
  • Building Inspection Commission, Access Appeals Commission, Board of Examiners and Unreinforced Masonry Building Appeals Board SIA Training
  • Ethics Training for City Employees

The following Trainings will be posted on the website in 2010:

  • Candidates’ Training
  • Lobbyist Ordinance Training
  • SIA Template Language Training
  • SEI Training

Respectfully submitted,

John St. Croix
Executive Director       

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