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Executive Director’s Report – March 8, 2010

For the Meeting of March 8, 2010

1. Staff report. 

Staff has been incredibly busy these past few months because of staffing changes, the filing of the semi-annual campaign finance disclosure reports, the launching of the public financing program and new lobbyist disclosure program, and preparation for the new round of ethics filings due on April 1.  Overall, staff has done a great job, resulting in third parties taking the time to remark on staff’s responsiveness and thoroughness of work.  One example of such comments came from a candidate for the DCCC who contacted me to let me know that Jarrod Flores “went above and beyond any call or expectation of service…He step-by-step helped me avoid mistakes, account for confusions, and overcome my own ignorance over some issues…I am stunned with how highly helpful and professional Mr. Flores was.”  In another instance, the Department of Human Resources recently wrote “At the 2/1/10 CSC (Civil Service Commission) meeting Commissioner Casper praised your Department’s PSC summary for its thoroughness and clarity.”  (The PSC summary, written by Steven Massey, pertained to the extension of the Netfile contract.)  The DHR representative asked if DHR could use our PSC summary package “as an example for other City departments that are still learning the process.”  Such feedback acknowledges the conscientious and diligent efforts of our staff. 

2.  Investigation and enforcement program.

Since its last regular meeting on December 14, 2009, the Commission has received five new complaints.  There are currently 14 complaints in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Category# of Complaints
Campaign Finance5
Conflict of Interest3
Governmental Ethics1
Lobbyist Ordinance0
Campaign Consultant Ordinance0
Sunshine Ordinance5

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The most recent filing deadline was February 1, 2010 for the Second Semi-Annual statement, which covers the reporting period ending December 31, 2009.  On February 24, staff sent out eight Non-Specific Written Notices to candidates/committees who had not filed required campaign statements.  As of March 1, six candidate/committees still have not filed their required statements.  These six candidates/committees have been posted to the Non-Responsive Filers List, which can be found on the Commission’s website.

The Ethics Commission has begun to conduct candidate trainings for the November 2, 2010 election.  The next training will be on May 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 will also hold a candidate’s training on March 3, 2010 for the June 8, 2010 election.  This training is only for candidates for the County Central Committee and is not mandatory.

Staff continues to provide 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 March 1 for FY 09-10 totaled $43,612, based on filings made during previous fiscal years and the current fiscal year.  By comparison, campaign finance collections as of March 1 in prior fiscal years were as follows:

Fiscal yearCollections by March 1Total collections in FY

The $43,612 amount is based on prior assessments as follows:

FY when assessedAmount collected in 09-10

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

FY when assessedAmount assessedAmount waived during FY

To date, the outstanding balance of late fees assessed from the current and previous years, including $54,626 in fees that have been referred to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues, is $192,047, down from $202,582 as last reported. 

The current outstanding balance of contribution forfeitures assessed as a result of the defective reporting of contributor information is $14,714, as last reported.  The $14,714 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:

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$2,250.00$0.00[1]
3SEIU Local 87PEN951Mike Garcia & Michael Baratz8/25/05$14,350.00$7,600.00$0.00[2]
5Johnnie Carter for Community College Board1226264Johnnie Carter6/16/06$9,520.00$6,595.00$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$0.00[3]
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$3,110$3,110
14Care Not Cash1244505Ronald Jin2/29/08$5,331$5,331$5,331
15Omar Khalif for Board of Educ.1287030Omar Khalif7/30/09$1,800$1,800$1,800
16Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup1306882Myrna Lim7/30/09$1,180$1,180$1,180
17Gregory StephensPEN196Gregory Stephens3/31/05$420$420$420
18San Francisco Women’s Political Committee1243711Giselle Barry5/16/06$1,906$50$50
19San Francisco Women’s Political Committee1243711Giselle Barry8/24/07$905$905$905

d.  Electronic filing.  On April 30, 2009 staff provided notice to committees subject to the electronic filing requirements under section 1.112(b) that they were 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 are made available to the public on the Ethics Commission’s web site.  The 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 March
2, 2010, the Commission received $77,118 as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 154 percent of expected revenues for FY 09-10. 
Revenues Received as of March 2, 2010

SourceBudgeted Amount FY 09-10Receipts
Lobbyist Fees$8,000$21,662
Other Ethics General$1,000$125
Campaign Finance Fines$22,000$39,985
Campaign Consultant Fees$15,000$11,900
Lobbyist Fines$1,000$400
Statements of Economic Interests Fines$1,000$1,380
Other Ethics Fines$1,000$1,565
Campaign Consultant Fines$1,000$100

5. Public financing/Campaign finance audit program.

The first day on which candidates for the Board of Supervisors could submit an application for public funds was February 2.  As of March 2, four candidates have been certified as eligible to receive public funds and one candidate’s application is under review.   

Staff will conduct a workshop on March 3 for candidates running for county central committee seats in June 2010.       

6. Lobbyist program. 

As of March 1, 2010, 40 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  In the FY 09-10, $21,662 in lobbyist fees and $400 in fines have been collected, for a total of $22,062. 

Lobbyists are now required to submit reports electronically on the 15th of each month.  The Commission and Netfile activated the new lobbyist electronic filing system on January 4, 2010. 

Prior to the February 15, 2010 deadline for the January 2010 reporting period, staff met with or conducted telephone meetings with 14 individual lobbyists to ensure they understood how to use the filing system.  To date, eight registered lobbyists have not filed their reports for January 2010.  This was due to lobbyists that needed additional assistance with the new system.  Staff has contacted those lobbyists and is working to help them complete their filings.

On March 3, 2010, the Commission released a web site for the public to view the monthly lobbyist reports.  The web site includes a directory of lobbyists, firms, clients, and contacted public officials.  It also allows the public to search lobbyist activity, including political contributions, contacts of public officials, payments promised by clients and activity expenses.  The web site will be updated every month as lobbyists file disclosure reports.

7. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of February 26, 2010, twenty-six campaign consultants are active and registered with the Commission.  The annual re-registration deadline was on Monday, January 4, 2010.  Two consultants filed one day late; all others filed on time.  $11,900 in registration fees and $100 in late fines have been collected in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. 

The next quarterly report is due March 15, 2010.  Staff will send reminder notices to the campaign consultants two weeks prior to the deadline.

8. Statements of Economic Interests.

April 1 is the deadline for designated officers and employees to file their annual Statement of Economic Interests (“SEIs”).  Staff has issued notices to department heads and commission secretaries about their filing officer duties.  On February 23, staff provided a training on the SEI.  April 1 is also the deadline for department heads and members of boards and commissions to file their annual Sunshine Ordinance declaration.

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, at 5:0 p.m., the City Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Commission, provided a Sunshine Ordinance/ethics training workshop at the Koret Auditorium in the Main Library.  Attendance at the event satisfied the annual Sunshine training requirement as well as the biannual AB1234 ethics training requirement.  Commission staff provided forms for attendees to fill out. 

9. Outreach and Education.

The Ethics Commission will continue to offer trainings on Statements of Incompatible Activities to City departments.  On February 23, staff facilitated an SEI Related Duties Training for filers and filing officers.  The presentation discussed the SEI, Sunshine Ordinance Declaration, Certificate of Ethics Training, Certification of Delivery, and Filing Officer Report.

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

  • Candidates’ Training:  May 12, July 15, and August 19,
  • Understanding Expenditure Ceilings:  September 21
  • County Central Committee Candidates’ Training:  March 3

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 web trainings will be posted on the website in 2010:

  • Candidates’ Training
  • County Central Committee Candidates’ Training
  • Lobbyist Ordinance Training
  • SIA Template Language Training
  • SEI Training

On March 2, 2010, I participated in a live Sunshine/Ethics training for City officers.  A recorded version of this presentation will be available for online viewing in the near future for anyone required to receive the training who could not attend the live version.

Respectfully submitted,

John St. Croix
Executive Director       

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[1] BDR entered into a settlement agreement with this filer and cancelled the balance.

[2] BDR entered into a settlement agreement with this filer and cancelled the balance.

[3] After several unsuccessful attempts to locate this filer, BDR abandoned collection efforts.

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