Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
June 13, 2011
Room 408, City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
I. Call to order and roll call.
Chairperson Hur called the meeting to order at 5:31 PM.
COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: Benedict Y. Hur, Chairperson; Beverly Hayon, Commissioner; Dorothy S. Liu, Commissioner. Vice-Chairperson Studley and Commissioner Ward were excused.
STAFF PRESENT: John St. Croix, Executive Director; Mabel Ng, Deputy Executive Director; Richard Mo, Chief Enforcement Officer.
OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY: Andrew Shen, Deputy City Attorney.
OTHERS PRESENT: James Chaffee, Dr. Derek Kerr, Dr. Maria Rivero, Charley Marsteller David Pilpel, Don Falk, and other unidentified members of the public.
– Memorandum re: Request for Waiver from Post Employment Ban, dated June 7, 2011
– Draft Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the San Francisco Ethics Commission on May 9, 2011
– Executive Director's Report to the Ethics Commission for the Meeting of June 13, 2011
II. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission.
James Chaffee stated that a complaint regarding Jewelle Gomez has taken a long time to come before the Ethics Commission. He stated that the Public Library has a long history of betraying the public. He stated that without accountability there will never be democracy. He stated that citizens should be supported in their quest for open government.
Dr. Derek Kerr stated that he was a whistleblower and was terminated from his City position. He stated that his complaint with the Ethics Commission has been going on for too long. He stated that the Ethics Commission has done nothing regarding his complaint. He stated that the monthly Executive Director's reports should reflect how long a complaint has been pending.
Dr. Maria Rivero stated that she filed a complaint along with Dr. Kerr. She stated that she was forced to resign from her position. She stated the Ethics Commission did nothing while she was retaliated against.
David Pilpel stated that the Executive Director's report does not include a list of persons with overdue fines. He stated that this should be included in the report.
Charley Marsteller stated that he was pleased with how the public financing program has proceeded in this year. He stated that audit staff should expand its audits to lobbyists and SEIs to see if there is any problem in those areas.
III. Consideration of whether, under S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 3.234(c), the Commission should grant a waiver to Doug Shoemaker, the Director of the Mayor's Office of Housing, from the ban on compensation from contractors in San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 3.234(a)(3).
Executive Director St. Croix introduced the waiver request.
Doug Shoemaker stated that his office provides financing to affordable housing developers. He stated that this has been his chosen field for over 15 years, and that the field is relatively small. He stated he has the opportunity to work for Mercy Housing. He stated that he has enjoyed his position with government, but this offer is an unbelievable opportunity.
Commissioner Liu stated that the factors here meet the case for an extreme hardship exemption.
Mr. Shoemaker responded to Commissioner Hayon stating that Mercy House recruited him for this position and that his current position is an appointed position with the risk of a new mayor appointing another person.
Responding to Commissioner Liu, Mr. Shoemaker stated that within the last year only three similar positions in the City have become available. He stated that San Francisco is his home and does not want to move his family to pursue a career opportunity. He stated that the other three organizations also received City funding.
Responding to Chairperson Hur, Mr. Shoemaker stated that he was aware of the employment ban when he accepted his current position. He stated that the value of the Mercy House loans are at least $15 million. He stated that the loans go to non-profit entities to make repairs to low income housing.
Chairperson Hur stated that he is sympathetic; however, this situation appears to be the archetypal instance that the law was designed to protect against.
Mr. Shoemaker stated that his position requires him to sign off on the contracts to all entities. He stated that the public vetting process is extensive regarding financing. He stated that he is not the sole actor in making a loan approval. He stated the loans do not come to him to sign off on until the loans are ready to close. He stated that Mercy House primarily works at the state level.
Responding to Chairperson Hur, Mr. Shoemaker stated that he was offered the position about six weeks ago.
Responding to Commissioner Liu, Mr. Shoemaker stated that he is not seeking a waiver prohibiting communications with the City. He stated that there are other persons within Mercy House who would handle City communications.
Don Falk, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Association, stated that the affordable housing community is very small, and the work is very specialized. He confirmed that there are very few candidates, and it is reasonable to expect a City officer in this field would re-enter the private sector.
Chairperson Hur stated that the matter should be continued when the full Ethics Commission is present.
Commissioner Liu stated that Mr. Shoemaker should provide any additional information that would aid the Ethics Commission to determine if he clearly meets the hardship exemption.
Motion 11-13-06-01 (Liu/Hur): Moved, seconded, and passed (3-0; Ward and Studley absent) that the Commission continue this matter to the next meeting of the Ethics Commission.
IV. Minutes of the Commission's regular meeting of April 11, 2011.
Motion 11-13-06-02 (Hayon/Liu): Moved, seconded, and passed (3-0, Ward and Studley absent) that the Ethics Commission adopt the minutes of the May 9, 2011, regular meeting.
V. Executive Director's Report.
Executive Director St. Croix stated that the Ethics Commission received the budget that it requested. He stated that the budget will go before the Board of Supervisors in June.
VI. Items for future meetings.
Deputy Executive Director Ng responded to Commissioner Liu, stating that staff wanted all commissioners to be present when Dr. Melinek's SIA issue comes up for consideration. She stated that she is presenting to the Public Library Commission about its SIA this August, and anticipates that the issue will return to the Ethics Commission for consideration is September.
Executive Director St. Croix explained the requirements to hold a special meeting on Mr. Shoemaker's matter.
VII. Public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda that are within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission.
Motion 11-13-06-3 (Hayon/Liu) Moved, seconded, and passed (3-0, Ward and Studley absent) that the Ethics Commission adjourn.
Meeting adjourned at 6:26 PM.