Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – May 17, 2017

Date: May 17, 2017
To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: AGENDA ITEM 10 – Executive Director’s Report for the May 22, 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.

Annual Policy Plan

Updated for May, the Commission’s Annual Policy Plan appears at Attachment 1.  Further detailed timeframes proposed by Staff in connection with the Commission’s policy discussions and possible action on City campaign finance and other laws appears with Items 6 and 7 on this month’s meeting agenda.

Budget Update

Building on the budget blueprint the Ethics Commission adopted in early 2016, and with submission of its proposed FY18 budget in February, we have continued to assess our operations and the resources most needed organizationally to meet key strategic priorities. As a result, a key budget goal for the year ahead has been to secure needed capacity-building investments in staffing and technology to improve compliance assistance and program oversight, develop new compliance tools and promote improved engagement, and ensure strong and effective public disclosure.

Attachment 2 provides a status report on key recommendations that we understand will be contained in the Mayor’s proposed budget when it is released on June 1. While we do not anticipate that all line items we proposed for funding will be funded next year, the authorization of one new education and compliance position, and support for our proposals to reclassify several vacant positions, are important steps to ensure staff resources are strongly aligned with new and growing demands for the delivery of the Commission’s broad mandate. Our departmental budget is scheduled to be heard by the Board of Supervisors Budget Committee on June 8 and we anticipate making a brief presentation in support of the proposed budget at that time.

Staff News

Frances McEvoy’s last day on the Ethics Commission staff was May 5th.  Frances served with us over the past year and half as a temporary Staff Assistant. In addition to providing filing and general assistance as part of our compliance support team, Frances made an invaluable contribution to the organization of the office. We thank her for her work, enjoyed her energy and focus, and wish her well as she starts her new role in the Peace Corps.

Earlier this month we welcomed Jeff Pierce to our staff. Jeff started on May 8 as one of our new senior investigative analysts.  He joined the investigative team of Tanya Smith, who started on April 24, and Ethics Commission Auditor Eric Willett, who will move to the team effective June 5. As noted in my April report, Jeff has served as Litigation Fellow and Legislative Counsel for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit that works across the country on cases protecting wild and endangered animals.  He holds a B.A. from Duke University, a Masters of Divinity from Yale, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.  As we continue to make progress on hiring for our other current position vacancies, Table 1 summarizes the status of these recruitments.

 

Table 1 -Status of Recruitments for Ethics Commission Staff Vacancies
Working Title and Division Status Type Job Class Title/No
Investigative Analyst (Enforcement & Legal Affairs) Interview/selection phase New/non-exempt Admin. Analyst, 1822
Policy Analyst (Policy) Interview phase New/non-exempt Admin. Analyst, 1822
Auditor (Audits) Request to fill submitted Vacancy/non-exempt Admin. Analyst, 1822
Principal Administrative Analyst Request to fill submitted Vacancy/non-exempt Princ. Admin Analyst, 1824
Education & Compliance Officer Reclassification pending FY18 budget adoption Vacancy/exempt Senior Management Assistant, 1844

Audits

Audit work on the last remaining audit of the 10 campaign committees selected for audit from the 2015 cycle has now been completed, and auditors anticipate a final audit report to be released in mid-June following the Committee’s review of the draft report.  In addition, going into the 2016 cycle, Staff are reviewing campaign audits from all recent cycles to identify any refinements or updates that would be useful for the audit handbook for upcoming 2016 audit work, which we anticipate will start in June.

Outreach

Chair Keane, Senior Policy Analyst Kyle Kundert and I had an introductory meeting with Supervisor Fewer on April 27th to discuss current Commission priorities and initiatives and general matters of shared interest.

As discussed under this month’s Agenda Item 6, staff held two Interested Persons meetings on May 9 and May 11 to solicit public comment on possible campaign and ethics revisions to City law.At the request of UC Berkeley’s Goldman Policy School’s Global and Executive Education Program, our office was asked to present as part of their two-week long Ethics & Governance program for 25 officials from India’s central government on May 8.  I conducted an all-morning presentation/discussion session on ethics in government from a local perspective.

Revenues Report

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

Table 2- Summary of FY 2016-17 Revenues as of May 15, 2017
Source Budgeted Amount FY 16-17 Receipts as of May 15, 2017
Lobbyist Registration Fees  $85,000  $96,364
Lobbyists Fines $500 $2,050
Campaign Consultants Fees $10,000 $21,013
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 $35,701
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission $7,500 $31,728
Total $133,350 $188,673

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

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