Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – December 21, 2018

To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director

Subject:

Agenda Item 9 – Executive Director’s Report for the December 21, 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.

Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) 40th Annual Conference

Several members of the staff and I attended the COGEL Annual conference held December 9-12 in Philadelphia. COGEL is the organization of government ethics administrators working in the fields of governmental ethics, freedom of information, elections, lobbying, and campaign finance at all levels of government in the United States and Canada. This year’s annual conference is the marked COGEL’s 40th anniversary and was attended by nearly 450 registrants.

Each year, the COGEL conference provides the opportunity for peer agencies to share updates on legislation, litigation, emerging trends, and leading practices. This year’s plenary sessions focused on a theme of putting voice to values, and included plenary session presentations by John Dean, author and former White House Counsel to President Nixon, and by Director/Producer Kimberly Reed along with a screening of her new documentary, Dark Money.

Conference programming kicked off on Sunday, with Senior Policy Analyst Pat Ford participating as a panelist in one of the first concurrent sessions of the day, Pay-to-Play Review: Exploring Enforcement & Compliance Challenges from Both Sides. Both Pat and Deputy Director Gayathri Thaikkendiyil led breakfast table top discussions during the week on evaluating thresholds for disclosure, and using data for decision making, respectively. Jeff Pierce connected with peers from other investigative and enforcement agencies to explore best practices and learn more about the structure and practices of programs at agencies around the country. As a member of COGEL’s Steering Committee and Co-Chair of its 2018 Nominating Committee, I attended the pre-conference meeting of the Steering Committee on Saturday and presented the 2019 slate of candidates to that governing body at the annual business meeting of the COGEL membership on Wednesday.

Concurrent sessions attended included the following:

  • Pay-to-Play Review: Exploring Enforcement & Compliance Challenges from Both Sides
  • Campaign Finance Update I: The “Must Know” Litigation Developments
  • An Introduction to Campaign Finance Regulation: Regulating Money in Elections, from A to Z
  • It’s Not a Campaign Expense. Or Is It? Elected Officials Raising & Spending Money for Legal Defense Funds & 501(c)(4) Groups
  • Voting with Dollars: The Evolution & Future of Public Financing
  • Ethics Update I: Advice, Legislation, & Litigation
  • Ethics Update II: Education, IT, & Financial Disclosure
  • Combatting Corruption: Do Crooked Politicians Now Have a Get Out of Jail Free Card?
  • Financial Disclosures: The Most Important Ethics Tool that Never Gets Attention
  • Ethics in the 21st Century: Should We Be Stuck in a Watergate Mindset in the Age of Millennials & Gen Z?
  • An Introduction to Lobbying Regulation: Everything You’ve Wanted to Know (But Were Afraid to Ask)
  • Lobbying Update II: Exploring State, Provincial, & Local Lobbying Laws
  • Social Media Ads Explained: How Campaign Ads & Social Media Transparency Rules Work
  • Campaign Ad Whack-a-Mole: Regulating Social Media Campaign Ads on the Information Superhighway
  • More than Meddling: Foreign Attacks on Elections & Public Policy
  • How to Eat an Elephant: Surviving Comprehensive Legislative & Constitutional Reform
  • A Scandal Right Out of the Gate: Go Behind the Scenes with Two Watergate Eyewitnesses
  • The Ethics of #MeToo: Addressing Sexual Harassment by Government Officials
  • Speaking a Reporter’s Language: Working Constructively with Reporters Without Crossing Lines
  • Enforcement Update 2018: Emerging Trends in Investigations & Enforcement
  • Scaling the Great Wall of Division: Agency Advice & Enforcement Functions
  • Making Your Case I: Here Comes the Judge
  • Making Your Case II: Just Do It
  • Training Conversations that Matter: Continuously Communicating to Stakeholders In & Out of the Classroom
  • #MeToo in Our Agencies: Creating a Safe & Respectful Workplace for Our Employees
  • Innovation Showcase: New Technologies of COGEL Members

Hiring Updates

I am sorry to announce that Jackie Hickey’s last day with the Commission was Friday, December 14. Jackie joined our staff as a permanent, full-time Staff Assistant (1406) in December 2016 and she recently accepted a position with the Office of the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, effective Monday, December 17. While it is an opportunity to serve the City and County of San Francisco in a broader capacity, it is a significant loss for our office. In her two years with our office, Jackie has provided valuable assistance to our staff through a variety of different front-office functions to support the day-to-day operations of our programs and Commission’s activities. As the first point of contact for our office, Jackie played a crucial role in providing friendly and timely service to our filers and the public. Her experience, insights, and contributions are greatly appreciated. We will miss Jackie and we wish her the best for her new role.

November marked the end of service for our two as-needed temporary staff. Clerk Rolina Wang started with the Commission in April this year. She accepted a full-time position with the Department of Public Health effective Monday, November 19.  Rolina played an integral role in helping our offices during the busy elections this year. In addition, Junior Management Assistant Maria ”Connie” Jozami had the opportunity to accept a long-term position with the City’s Department of Human Resources, and her last day in the office was Friday, November 30. We greatly appreciate the support Rolina and Connie provided to our office and to the public during their time with us and we wish them all the best in their new roles with the City and County of San Francisco.

On Monday, December 17, we welcomed Niike Andino as our new temporary Junior Management Assistant to provide continued support for the vital work of our Engagement & Compliance team. Niike previously worked at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission as a Public Service Aide in the Contract Administration Bureau. We are also working on hiring a temporary Clerk in the Engagement & Compliance division to support our day-to-day operations until we are fully staffed.

As noted in the November Executive Director’s report, under the City’s civil service hiring process, an eligibility list is established for each position that ranks each candidate meeting the required minimum qualifications for the position based on the candidate’s performance on written exams that assess both core competencies required for the job classification generally, and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the specific position. The eligibility list identifies candidates that may be invited to participate in the oral exam phase of the process with the hiring department. In the past month, for each of the five positions in recruitment at the Commission (Principal Program Manager for Engagement & Compliance; Principal Program Manager for Audits; Senior Program Administrator for Engagement & Compliance; Senior Investigative Analyst; and Policy Analyst), the written exam phase was completed, and the oral interview phase is now beginning.

Revenues Report

Table 1 shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2018, as of December 17, 2018.

Table 1- Summary of FY 2018-19 Revenues

SourceFY 18-19 Budgeted AmountFY 18-19 Receipts as of Dec. 17 2018
Lobbyist Registration Fees$85,000$17,750
Lobbyists Fines$2000$650
Campaign Consultants Fees$7,000$5,500
Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public$2,450$2,500
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees$1,250$100
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$700
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures)$50,000$33,962
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission$7,500$23,230
Major Developer Fee$0$4,500
Total$157,200$88,892

I look forward to answering any questions you might have at the upcoming Commission meeting.

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