Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – May 3, 2018

Date: May 3, 2018
To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: AGENDA ITEM 11 – Executive Director’s Report for the May 7, 2018 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.

Election 2018

The first pre-election filing deadline for candidates and committees to file their campaign statements for the June 2018 election was on April 26, 2018. The Electronic Disclosure and Data Analysis team updated the Campaign Finance Data Dashboards on April 27 to reflect the latest filing data. The Commission’s website homepage is also updated to highlight the campaign dashboards so that the public can quickly find this information leading up to the June election.

The Commission’s Public Funds Disbursements page shows the lists of candidates for the June 2018 election who have been certified as eligible to receive public funds, and total disbursements to those candidates to date. Candidates who participate in the public financing program are bound by spending limits or “Individual Expenditure Ceiling” (IEC) on their campaigns. On April 26, the Commission raised the IECs for the first time for two publicly financed candidates in the June 2018 Mayoral race. These IECs were subsequently raised again on April 30 and May 2. Up-to-date information regarding the IECs for the June 2018 election is available online at the Expenditure Ceilings page.

Annual Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700) Filings

The deadline for City officers and designated employees to file their Annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) was Monday, April 2, 2018. Over 500 elected Officials, Commissioners, Board Members and Department Heads are required to file the Form 700 electronically with the Ethics Commission. Approximately 3000 other City and County employees designated on departmental Conflict of Interest codes are required to file paper copies with their respective departments. Each year, filers submit the annual Form 700 by April 1 to disclose their reportable financial interests for the period of January 1 to December 31 from the previous year. Because this year the April 1 deadline was on a Sunday, all annual statements were due by the next business day, on Monday, April 2, 2018.

Individuals who are required to file Form 700 online with the Commission are also required to complete and Ethics and Sunshine Ordinance training requirements. New this year was the Commission-initiated process to consolidate these training and filing requirements. Effective December 23, 2017, the deadlines for the Ethics and Sunshine Ordinance training requirements were modified to align with the deadlines for filing Form 700. As a part of that change, the ‘Ethics Training Certificate’ and the ‘Sunshine Ordinance Declaration’ forms were combined into one form titled the “Ethics and Sunshine Training Declaration Form” which is filed electronically through the Commission’s e-filing system. Previously, the Ethics training was required every two years based on the filer’s assuming office date and the Sunshine Ordinance training was required annually by December 31. With the new law, the filers are required to complete both training requirements and file the combined form by the annual April deadline. At the start of 2018, the Program staff reviewed all the training requirements posted in the e-filing system to ensure that they were aligned with the new regulations. The Engagement and Compliance team members have been administering the filing requirements in the e-filing system to update filers’ status as they assume and/or leave office to help ensure all filer lists remain current.

Outreach and Support

To help inform filers and filing officers regarding the annual Form 700 and training requirements, in February we launched updated compliance pages online. To help heighten awareness of these requirements and support full and timely compliance, Program staff also conducted two information sessions for filers (on February 14 and March 12) and two for filing officers (on February 7 and March 7). Each session addressed information and tools available to promote understanding and compliance with filing requirements, including the new requirements for completing and filing the Ethics and Sunshine training certification. In addition to online tools and information sessions, staff also sent out several reminder notices to departmental contacts and filers before the filing deadline with information about filing resources and assistance. Members of City boards and commissions were also notified about the new law operative on April 16, 2018 which disqualifies board and commission members from participating or acting on matters before their boards or commissions if they have not complied with their filing obligations.

The Engagement and Compliance team also provided one-on-one assistance to filers and filing officers through emails, calls, and in person. This year, filer support requests were noticeably higher than previous years due to the changes in the requirements for Ethics and Sunshine Ordinance trainings. Filers needed more assistance with understanding the new deadlines and requirements, completing their online trainings, and e-filing the new consolidated form.

Disclosures

This year 510 individuals were required to file their Form 700 statements electronically with the Ethics Commission. The annual Form 700 and training declaration filings are available at the Commission’s SEI Disclosures page in different data formats including statements, transaction database, and datasets. The disclosures page also provides information regarding filers who have not filed their statements.

Late Filing and Enforcement

After the annual filing deadline, on April 6 e-filers with unfulfilled filing requirements and their departmental contacts were notified about their pending filing obligations through an email reminder. A second email reminder was sent out the following week on April 10 to the Department Heads and designated Filing Officers with details regarding non-filers in their specific department/agency. Following these communications additional filers filed their statements and some departments notified us about changes to their filers’ status. As of May 2, 95 percent of e-filers had filed their Annual Form 700 and 92 percent of e-filers had filed their Ethics and Sunshine Training Declaration Form through the Commission’s online filing system. The Commission staff is currently working on sending out additional reminder notifications to the remaining non-filers. Individuals who fail to comply within 30 days of the next communication will be referred to the Commission’s Enforcement division as well as to the California Fair Political Practices Commission for further review and action that may be warranted.

Engagement and Compliance Updates

On April 2, 2018 the Engagement and Compliance division welcomed two temporary “as-needed” staff members to assist the team with the front-office operations and program administration. The temporary Clerks have supported our program operations during the very busy filing month of April, which had multiple filing deadlines including annual Form 700 filing, Lobbyists monthly reporting, first pre-election filing for June 2018 Election, Major Developers quarterly reporting, and Permit Consultants quarterly reporting. Priority focus for our temporary staff members has been to assist with processing paper filings that have been backlogged over the last several months due to our ongoing capacity constraints. With their continued assistance, we plan to upload pending papers filings for Campaign Consultants, Permit Consultants, and Major Developers programs on our website soon.

Commission’s Performance Measures

Staff is currently working with the Controller’s Office to refine the public performance measures reported for the Commission’s programs and operations. All departments have been requested to review their current performance measure portfolio to create a balanced set of performance measures that align tightly with their strategic plans. Commission Staff have been working to analyze and revise our existing measures and creating the data to report for those measures. Once we have finalized these measures with the Controller’s Office and the Mayor’s Office, they will be published in the Mayor’s June Budget Book.

Technology Update

As shown in the table below, our IT Team has been working on a variety of technology projects to implement Commission disclosure programs during FY17-18, including electronic forms, public data systems, and establishing new contracts with professional service providers. The information below provides a status update of what has been deployed to-date and what to expect in the coming months, and IT staff will be on hand at Monday’s meeting for any questions or discussion about our ongoing work.

 

Project Status
Campaign Finance
Campaign Finance Dashboards website for June and November 2018 election

Staff developed a new version of the Commission’s data visualization tool to explore campaign contributions and expenditures in the June and November 2018 elections.

Deployed March 2018
Electronic filing of Notification of Contract Approval form

DataSF vendor (Socrata) is discontinuing existing service where staff currently posts scanned paper forms.  As a result, contractor disclosure forms (SFEC Form 126) will be converted to an electronic format and will automatically post online.  A public dataset will allow searches of disclosed named parties to a contract to improve ability for candidates to comply with contractor contribution ban.

In progress – Expected Q4 FY 17-18
Campaign Finance Application Programming Interface (API)

The project includes direct public access to Netfile transaction data, geolocation data, electronic local third-party expenditure forms and data access, online access to disclosed advertisements, improved synchronization with DataSF, and better data structure to visualize information.

In progress – Expected Q2 FY 18-19
Lobbyist
Contact Lobbyist Registration System (Measure T)

New electronic lobbyist registration form allows lobbyists to disclose departments lobbied in compliance with Measure T. The new system also improves registration process for lobbyists represented by compliance firms.

Deployed January 2018
Electronic filing of Certificate of Lobbyist Training form

Lobbyists can now take mandatory training and complete the required training certificate online.  Lobbyists in compliance are posted to the Commission’s web site and DataSF.

Deployed January 2018
New lobbyist public access web site to view contact lobbyist filings

The public access web site was rebuilt to support Measure T registration forms to disclose departments lobbied and to make the site more viewable on mobile devices.

Deployed March 2018
Revised Lobbyist Application Programming Interface (API) and connection to DataSF

DataSF servers used to process lobbyist data hit capacity issues due to obsolete design of existing lobbyist API built in 2011.  In addition, changes in Measure T required changes to the 2011 API.  Staff is working with Netfile to redesign the API for better efficiency to restore syncing with DataSF and make changes for Measure T.

In progress – Expected Q4 FY 17-18
Expenditure Lobbyist System (Measure C)

Electronic filing of expenditure lobbyist registration and monthly disclosure reports and public access web site.

In progress – Expected Q2 FY 18-19
Electronic filing of Lobbyists on Behalf of the City Reports

DataSF vendor (Socrata) is discontinuing existing service where staff currently posts scanned paper forms.  Disclosure report will be converted to an electronic filing and automatically posted online.

Under review
Conflict of Interest
Electronic filing of Behested Payments by City Board and Commission Members form and publicly accessible dataset

DataSF vendor (Socrata) is discontinuing existing service where staff currently posts scanned paper forms. Disclosure report will be converted to an electronic filing and automatically posted online.

Deployed January 2018
Electronic filing of revised Sunshine & Ethics Online Training

City Officials required to take Sunshine and Ethics Training can now complete one training process and form to comply with both training requirements online via the filer’s Form 700 account.  This was made possible due to Commission changes to Regulation 15.102-1 that went into effect in December 2017.

Deployed January 2018
Electronic filing of Gifts of Travel form and publicly accessible dataset

Elected officials required to disclose gifts of travel can now complete SFEC Form 3.216(d) online.  The forms and data disclosed on the form will post automatically on DataSF when filed.

Deployed February 2018
Electronic filing of Certification of Delivery form

Filing officers can electronically file certification that all the necessary preparation was completed to facilitate filing of Form 700 for the annual April deadline.  The new electronic form improved the efficiency of obtaining the necessary signatures and processing the forms.

Deployed March 2018
Permit Consultants and Major Developers
Electronic filing of Permit Consultant Registration and Quarterly Reports and publicly accessible dataset

DataSF vendor (Socrata) is discontinuing existing service where staff currently posts scanned paper forms.  Disclosure report will be converted to an electronic filing and automatically posted online.

Under review
Electronic filing of Major Developer Reports and publicly accessible dataset

DataSF vendor (Socrata) is discontinuing existing service where staff currently posts scanned paper forms.  Disclosure report will be converted to an electronic filing and automatically posted online.

Under review
Internal Projects
Committee on Information Technology Internal SharePoint Project

The Ethics Commission submitted a proposal to the City’s Committee on Information Technology (“COIT”) to build an internal SharePoint web site. This project is designed to improve the efficiency of our internal work processes by facilitating the sharing of information and collaboration on documents (such as advice, policy projects, and automated form processing procedures). It integrates the system with City’s DocuSign system to convert existing paper disclosure forms to electronic format. The proposal was selected, and contracted SharePoint consultants were made available to assist Commission staff with the project.

Deployed December 2017
Internal IT ticketing system

Staff is establishing an internal IT ticketing system to provide for better tracking of filer and staff support requests and resolution of electronic filing system bugs and issues.

In progress – Expected Q4 FY 17-18
Online Disclosure System Contract

Staff obtained approval of a new contract with our online filing systems vendor, Netfile. The new contract extends support and maintenance on the existing electronic filing system to 2020 and adds new capabilities to the system include the Lobbyist Registration System (Measure T), Expenditure Lobbyist System, Campaign Finance API, Form 700 filing for designated filers, and a combined Sunshine & Ethics Training process. This process required over a year of work to obtain approvals by various City agencies and negotiating with the vendor.

Contract approved by Office of Contract Administration in April 2018.  Establishment of purchase order in process. 

Staff News

I have appointed Chief Programs Officer Gayathri Thaikkendiyil to act on a temporary basis as the Acting  Deputy Director, effective April 16, 2018. As Acting Deputy Director, Gayathri assumes an additional executive role in addition to her duties as Chief Programs Officer for our Engagement & Compliance division.  She will be working closely with me on departmental resource management and strategic planning, broadly includes oversight of personnel office-wide, application of office policies, and acting on my behalf when absent from the office, and as an externally-facing resource for the Commission.

As announced in my March Executive Director’s report, Jeffrey Pierce will continue to act as the Interim Director of Enforcement and Legal Affairs until a permanent appointment to that position is made.

Having concluded the oral interview phase of our recruitment for the Senior Auditor (1823) position in March, we determined that the position requires re-classification to better reflect the more senior level of audit and supervisory experience required for that position. I therefore determined to not move forward with that recruitment at this time. In the meantime, I have appointed Auditor Amy Li to act as Interim Audit Supervisor to provide leadership to the Audit division until the position previously posted can be reclassified and filled.

As mentioned earlier in this report, on April 2 we welcomed two temporary Clerks, Rolina Wang and Jessica Barrog, to assist the Engagement and Compliance Staff on an as-needed basis with the increased workload related to the upcoming 2018 elections. Both come with valuable prior experience with other City departments and have been supporting our Staff with a variety of activities including handling calls from the public, assisting filers, processing incoming filings, and other administrative tasks.

Due to the substantive work related to the Commission’s three meetings in April, our planned focus on recruitment-related work has slowed movement on our hiring plan. A snapshot of Ethics Commissions positions in recruitment appears below in Table 1.

Table 1 -Status of Ethics Commission Positions in Recruitment

Position Working Title Division Status Type Job Class Title/No
Sr. IS Business Analyst El. Discl & Data Analysis Position to be posted this week. Vacancy/non-exempt Senior IS Business Analyst (1053)
Principal Admin. Analyst Engt/Compliance Job posting in development. Vacancy/non-exempt Princ. Admin Analyst (1824)
Sr. Admin. Analyst Engt/Compliance Job posting in development. New/non-exempt Senior Admin Analyst (1823)

Revenues Report

Table 2 shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2017, as of April 30, 2018.

Table 2- Summary of FY 2017-18 Revenues as of April 30, 2018

Source Budgeted Amount FY 17-18 Receipts as of April 30, 2018
Lobbyist Registration Fees $85,000 $81,900
Lobbyists Fines $500 $2,400
Campaign Consultants Fees $7,000 $16,305
Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public $2,450 $0
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees $1,250 $152
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000 $1,460
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures) $23,000 $66,085
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission $7,500 $14,825
Major Developer Fee $    0 $2,000
Total $127,700 $185,127

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

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