Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – April 19, 2017

Date: April 19, 2017
To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: AGENDA ITEM 6 – Executive Director’s Report for the April 24, 2017 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 for informational purposes only.

Staff News

I am sorry to share news that Shaista Shaikh’s last day with the Ethics Commission was April 14.  During her 19 years with the Commission, Shaista wore many hats including, most recently, Assistant Deputy Director and Director of Audits and Operations. Shaista recently accepted an offer with the Department of Public Works to help implement the City’s new financial accounting system that will be rolled out this spring. She will be training employees how to make the most of the system’s new features. While we are sad to say goodbye to a deeply valued colleague, we take heart in knowing that the City will continue to benefit from Shaista’s experience and her exceptional analytic and people skills. We wish her all the best and are glad that she remains just a phone call away.

On April 10, we gladly welcomed Kyle Kundert as Senior Policy Analyst in our new Policy Unit.  Before joining the Commission, Kyle was an Ethics and Lobbying Specialist with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, formerly the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. In that role, he conducted legal research and policy drafting in the areas of campaign finance, lobbying, ethics, and election administration, including assessing gaps in the law and identifying possible statutory changes. Prior to his state service in Madison, he performed public policy work for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services. Kyle holds a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law and a B.A. in Geography with a minor in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

With our exam-based recruitment process for three senior Investigator/Legal Analyst positions now complete, we look forward to welcoming the following individuals to our enforcement division in the coming weeks:

  • Tanya Smith will start on April 24. Tanya has experience as a Commission Counsel at the Fair Political Practices Commission, where she directed a team of auditors and investigators in reviewing documents to determine compliance with state law, including conflicts of interest provisions, and drafted documents used in that agency’s administrative enforcement proceedings. Prior to working for the FPPC, Tanya worked in private practice as an employment lawyer. She holds a J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and a B.A. from Brigham Young University.
  • Jeff Pierce will start with on May 8. Jeff has served as Litigation Fellow and Legislative Counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit based here in the Bay Area region that works across the country on cases protecting wild and endangered animals.  Jeff has a wide range of applicable experience that will be put to good use in his new enforcement role at the Commission, including evaluating potential causes of action, developing investigative findings, and familiarity with Administrative Procedures Act and Federal Freedom of Information Act. Jeff holds a B.A. from Duke University, a Masters of Divinity from Yale, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
  • Eric Willett will join the enforcement division on June 5. Eric has served as an Auditor with the Commission since May 2014 and will continue to assist with preparation for our 2016 campaign audits through the first week in June as he transitions to his new enforcement role. Prior to joining the Commission, Eric was with the SF Assessor-Recorder’s Office for three years, where he reviewed and prepared Assessment Appeals Board hearings in conjunction with the City Attorney’s Office. He also worked previously with the San Mateo County Elections Office on the County’s vote-by-mail program and has a range of policy and operational experience in the maritime industry. Eric holds a B.A. from Arizona State University and a Master of Science in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs in Seattle.

We also welcome two new temporary project assistants to the office this month. Alexis Trejo and Cheryl Li are helping us with ongoing scanning and filing projects through the end of this fiscal year as temporary Clerks.  Both Alexis and Cheryl have prior experience as temporary staff with the City’s Department of Elections.

Table 1 summarizes the status of recruitments underway for our vacant staff positions.

Table 1 -Status of Recruitments for Ethics Commission Staff Vacancies
Working Title and Division Status Type Job Class Title
Investigator/Legal Analyst (Enforcement & Legal Affairs) Hiring complete New/non-exempt Senior Admin. Analyst, 1823
Investigator/Legal Analyst (Enforcement & Legal Affairs) Hiring complete New/non-exempt Senior Admin. Analyst, 1823
Investigator/Legal Analyst (Enforcement & Legal Affairs) Hiring complete Vacancy/non-exempt Senior Admin. Analyst, 1823
Investigative Analyst (Enforcement & Legal Affairs) Interview phase beginning New/non-exempt Admin. Analyst, 1822
Policy Analyst (Policy) Completing exam review phase New/non-exempt Admin. Analyst, 1822
Auditor (Operations/Audits) Request to fill pending Vacancy/non-exempt Admin. Analyst, 1822
Education & Compliance Officer (Ed & Compliance) Request to fill pending Vacancy/exempt Senior Management Assistant, 1844
Principal Administrative Analyst (Operations/Audits) Request to fill pending Vacancy/non-exempt Principal Admin Analyst, 1824

Annual Policy Plan

The Commission’s Annual Policy Plan updated for the month of April appears at Attachment 1.  With new staff coming on board, and based on the Commission’s continuing policy direction, over the next month we will more closely assess likely time frames for upcoming policy work and reflect any further necessary adjustments in the May update.

Outreach

Staff developed new web-based tools and informational content to assist both electronic and paper filers with their Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700) filing obligations this year.  We also engaged in a series of outreach activities, including e-mail communication and in-person information sessions leading up to the April 3rd filing deadline.  We are currently surveying filers to assess the effectiveness of those activities and identify what kinds of filer support may be most helpful in the future. We will be analyzing survey feedback along with data from this year’s filing experience and plan to report at your meeting next month on what we learn from this assessment.

On March 30, I conducted an overview presentation on ethics in public service for employees of the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services. The department invited our participation as part of their staff training program.

Audits

For the 10 campaign committee audits randomly selected from the 2015 audit cycle, one audit remains underway. Commission auditors are in contact with the Committee to secure additional documentation necessary to complete the audit.

As noted in our Staff audit selection report last month, we have secured audit assistance for the 2016 audit cycle from the Controller’s Office to conduct mandatory audits of the 12 publicly-financed candidates’ committees.  At the same time, Commission auditors will complete audits that remain underway and begin to collect and review documentation for the 15 campaign committees selected for audit for the 2016 cycle.

Revenues Report

Table 2 shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2016, as of April 15, 2017

Table 2 – Summary of FY 2016-17 Revenues as of April 15, 2017
Source Budgeted Amount FY 16-17 Receipts as of April 15, 2017
Lobbyist Registration Fees $85,000 $92,864
Lobbyists Fines $500 $2,050
Campaign Consultants Fees $10,000 $20,963
Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public $4,850 $917
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees $1,500 $300
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000 $600
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures) $23,000 $28,634
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission $7,500 $31,328
Total $133,350 $177,656

I look forward to answering any questions about this report at the upcoming Commission meeting.

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