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Minutes – July 12, 2010


(Approved 8/9/2010)

July 12, 2010 5:30 P.M.
Room 408 City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco

I. Call to order and roll call.

Chairperson Studley called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m.

Commission Members Present:  Jamienne Studley, Chairperson; Susan Harriman, Vice-Chairperson;  Eileen Hansen, Commissioner; Benedict Y. Hur, Commissioner; Charles Ward, Commissioner.

Staff Present:  John St. Croix, Executive Director; Mabel Ng, Deputy Executive Director; Richard Mo, Chief Enforcement Officer; Steven Massey, Information Technology Officer; Garrett Chatfield, Investigator.

Office of the City Attorney:  Jon Givner, Deputy City Attorney

Others Present:  Unidentified members of the public.

Materials Distributed:

  • Staff memorandum re:  Commission Outreach and Education, dated July 8, 2010.
  • Draft Minutes of the June 14, 2010, Regular Meeting of the San Francisco Ethics Commission.
  • Executive Director’s Report to the Ethics Commission for the Meeting of July 12, 2010.

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


III. Consideration of education and communication with the public.  At its November 9, 2009 meeting, the Commission adopted “Education and Communication with the general public” as one of its priorities for the year.  (Discussion and possible action.)

Chairperson Studley stated that the Commission believes Outreach and Education is an extremely important area.  She stated that the Commission should consider a broad outreach approach inviting the public to opt to receive communications from the Ethics Commission.

Commissioner Hansen invited feedback from the other Commissioners to help determine if there is an interest in changing how the Commission conducts its outreach to the public.

Commissioner Ward stated that staff’s memo raised some concerns that the Commission may be perceived as targeting some groups to the exclusion of others.  He stated that Staff works hard to ensure the public is aware of the Commission’s work and does as much as any other commission in the City.  He stated that it may be that the public following the Ethics Commission is a smaller group compared to other City commissions.

Vice-Chairperson Harriman stated that any broad correspondence must be conducted in a fair manner. 

Chairperson Studley stated that there may be mechanisms to send out correspondence to a wide enough audience so as to avoid the perception of bias. 

In response to Commissioner Hur’s question, Information Technology Officer Massey stated that most unique visits to the Commission’s website are from users.

Executive Director St. Croix stated that currently there is no automated email notification system.  He stated that staff manages the Interested Persons list and administers all email notifications to that list.

Information Technology Officer Massey stated that the Department of Technology expressed concerns that unsolicited emails to the public could result in the City being listed as a spamming organization.

In response to Commissioner Hur, Executive Director St. Croix stated that the Commission has held meetings at other times and locations.  He also stated that the matters of great public interest generate more attendance than routine agenda items.

Commissioner Hansen stated that she would like to see the Commission reach out to the public in a way that goes beyond what the Commission is required to do.  She stated that many members of the public express an interest in the work the Commission does, yet do not attend the public meetings.  She stated that the Commission should televise its meetings and send monthly notices of changes in the law and other events similar to notifications sent by the California Fair Political Practices Commission to Interested Persons of that organization.  She stated that she is concerned that the Commission often cites a lack of resources to implement any change.

Chairperson Studley suggested that Executive Director St. Croix meet with Chairperson Studley and Commissioner Hansen to brainstorm some proposals for letting members of the public know about the Commission’s work and the opportunity to receive information that avoid technology and selectivity concerns and present those options to the Commission.

Public Comment:

IV. Closed session.

Motion 10-07-12-1 (Harriman/Ward): Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Commission go into closed session.

Public Comment:

V. Closed session held pursuant to Charter section C3.699-13, Brown Act section 54956.9 (a) and (c)  and Sunshine Ordinance section 67.10(d) to discuss anticipated litigation as plaintiff.

The Commission went into closed session at 6:12 p.m.
The Commission returned to open session at 6:37 p.m.

VI. Discussion and vote regarding closed session action and deliberations.  (Discussion and possible action.)

Motion 10-07-12-2 (Harriman/Ward):  Moved, seconded, and passed (5-0) that the Ethics Commission finds that it is in the best interests of the pubic not to disclose its closed session deliberations.

Public Comment:

VII. Minutes of the Commission’s regular meeting of June 14, 2010.   (Discussion and possible action.)

Commissioner Harriman stated there was a typographical error on page 7 in which a verb was needed to complete the sentence.

Commissioner Hansen stated that on page 11 in the 3rd paragraph, she did not state that the Commission should engage in discussions that are not calendared; she stated that what she had said was that the Commission should respond to members of the public.

Motion 10-07-12-3 (Hansen/Harriman):  Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) to approve the minutes of the June 14, 2010, Regular Meeting subject to the proposed revisions. 

Public Comment:

VIII. Executive Director’s Report.  An update of important Ethics Commission staff activities since the previous monthly meeting.  (Discussion.)

Executive Director St. Croix stated that the Commission had to make two small cuts in the budget that were part of an across-the-board cut to all City departments.

Public Comment:

IX. Items for future meetings.  Commissioners may propose items for future agendas and the Commission may determine the priority of these items.  (Discussion.)


Public Comment:

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


XI. Adjournment.

Motion 10-07-12-4 (Harriman/Hansen):  Moved, seconded and passed (5-0) that the Commission adjourn.

The meeting adjourned at 6:42 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Garrett Chatfield/Investigator

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