Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – April 25, 2016

Date: April 21, 2016

To: Members of the Ethics Commission

From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director

Subject: AGENDA ITEM 8 – Executive Director’s Report for the April 25, 2016 Commission Meeting


Summary

This report provides various programmatic and operational highlights to date since the last monthly Executive Director’s Report.

Action Requested

No action is required by the Commission, as this item is only for informational purposes.

Budget and Staffing

For a status update on the Commission’s proposed budget for FY17 and 18, please see the memorandum and attachments for Item 5 on the Commission’s April 25, 2016 meeting agenda.

The job announcement for the Ethics Commission’s Deputy Director position was posted at the end of March on the City’s employment page, at https://www.jobaps.com/sf/.  To help attract a wide range of candidates, the position description was posted by the City’s Department of Human Resources on four additional web sites it recommended. To maximize the benefit of our 30-day listings on those sites, we have extended the application deadline from April 22 to Friday May 6, 2016.

Beginning in late March we welcomed three temporary, as-needed Staff Assistants to our office to help with the growing election season workload. Luke Gray is finishing up his undergraduate studies in Political Science and Philosophy at UC Davis this quarter, and he is receiving academic credit for his work with us. Frances McEvoy joined us after having served as a part-time office assistant with the Commission in late 2015. She will be graduating in May from the University of San Francisco with a degree in Politics. Jack Cannice is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Law.  Each has been assisting with a variety of front office projects, including filing assistance, general office duties, and special projects as assigned. Luke will be with us through June 8th, while Frances and Jack will be working with us through June 30, 2016, the end of the fiscal year.

As staff continues to plan for the coming fiscal year, a list of ongoing staff projects and key operational deadlines for July 1 through December 31 2016 is provided in Attachment 1 for informational purposes.

Outreach   

On April 14, staff conducted a training for candidates and treasurers involved in the November 2016 election. The session reviewed a variety of topics from recordkeeping to prohibited contributions and the Commission’s audit function. The session fulfilled the mandatory training requirement for attendees for this election cycle.

The CORO Youth Development Program invited me to do a presentation with 15 of their Bay Area YDP Fellows on April 21st.  The discussion centered around the work of the Commission and the role of ethics in public sector leadership.

Campaign Cycle Activities

Public Financing Program

Three candidates to date have been certified as eligible to receive public funds in connection with their candidacy on the November 2016 ballot. Two candidates are in the District 1 Supervisorial race and one candidate is in District 11. Under changes to City law that took effect in May 2012, candidates in this year’s election who qualify for public financing may not receive those funds until June 20, 2016, or 142 days before the election.

Audit Program

Staff are now conducting audits of the two candidates who received public financing in 2015 and are collecting audit records from the committees that were randomly selected last month for the other 2015 audits that will be conducted.  Eleven pre-2015 audit reports (seven campaign committees and four lobbyist audits) remain under final supervisory review prior to their release.  Finalizing those audit reports will be a priority over the next two weeks.  Staff has also undertaken an internal review of its audit to assess what processes or approaches might be improved as the new round of audits begins. Additional longer term enhancements are also being examined.

Other Program Highlights

Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) Disclosure Program

The annual deadline for Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) was April 1. Roughly 500 individuals are required to file their statements electronically with our office. Those include all elected officials, members of boards and commissions, and department heads.  As of April 19, 2016, 95 percent of e-filers had filed their Annual Form 700 through the Commission’s online filing system.  We will be providing a list at the end of this month to the Mayor’s Office and Board of all electronic filers whose statements remain outstanding at that time.

Based on reports of departmental filing contacts we have received as of April 10, 2016, 97 percent of the City’s other 3,800+ designated filers who continue to file their Form 700s on paper had done so with their respective departments.  Commission staff are continuing to work with departmental filing contacts to ensure all statements are filed.

Campaign Consultant Program

Campaign consultants are required to register with the Ethics Commission once the threshold in section 1.505 of the Campaign Consultant Ordinance is met.  Each registered campaign consultant is required to re-register annually at the beginning of the calendar year.  As of mid-April 2016, 28 campaign consultants were registered with the Commission for 2016.  Campaign Consultants are required to submit their next quarterly reports no later than June 15, 2016.  These reports will cover the reporting period from March 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016.

Investigation and Enforcement Program   

Investigative matters under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission are treated as formal complaints if, based on the allegations and Executive Director’s preliminary review, the Executive Director determines there is reason to believe a violation of law may have occurred.  Once the Executive Director has determined with regard to a particular complaint that there is reason to believe a violation of law may have occurred, those complaints are logged as formal complaints.  As of mid-April 2016, 24 formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction remained pending.  Table 1 summarizes the number of pending formal complaints by category.

Table 1 – Summary of Pending Formal Complaints, by Type, as of Mid-April, 2016

Type Number
Campaign Finance 8
Conflict of Interest 11
Governmental Ethics 3
Lobbyist Ordinance 1
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 1
Sunshine Ordinance 0
Total 24

Revenues Report      

Table 2 shows the revenues received during the current fiscal year by the Commission as of April 15, 2016.  The $158,372 received through that date is roughly 226 percent more than the $70,000 figure budgeted for FY2015-16.

Table 2 – Summary of FY 2015-16 Revenues as of April 15, 2016

Source Budgeted Amount FY15-16 Receipts as of mid-April
Registration Fees
Contact Lobbyists $37,000 $102,500
Campaign Consultants $5,000 $14,400
Other, Ethics General (e.g., copies made by public) $1,000 $7
Late Fees
Statement of Economic Interests Filers $1,000 $1,660
Contact Lobbyist Filers $1,000 500
Campaign Consultant Filers $1,000 $1,750
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures) $23,000 $29,755
Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission
Ethics, Other $1,000 $7,800
Total $70,000 $158,372

Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR) Accounts

One new referral was submitted on March 23, 2016 to the San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR) since the last Executive Director’s report.  The following chart summarizes active accounts that have been referred by the Ethics Commission.

Committee/Filer ID # Treasurer or Responsible Officer Date referral effective Original amount referred Last month’s balance Current balance Status
Chris Jackson For Community College Board 1347066 Chris Jackson 7/12/13 $6,601 $6,601 $6,601 Judgement issued 11/18/15 Small Claims Court
Committee to Elect Norman For Supervisor 1327771 Jacqueline Norman 5/01/15 $9,000 $9,000 $9,000
Bob Squeri For District 7 Supervisor 2012 1346150 Bob Squeri 5/01/15 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Mark Farrell  For Supervisor 2010 1320480 Mark Farrell 7/08/15 $190,903 $190,903 $190,903
Isabel Urbano 153993 Isabel Urbano 3/23/16 $7,000 $7,000
TOTAL $215,504

I look forward to answering any questions you might have in connection with this Executive Director’s report at the April 25th Commission meeting.

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