Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Election of Commission Officers and Approval of Stipulated Settlement Among Actions by Ethics Commission at February Monthly Meeting

Date: February 19, 2019
Contact: Pat Ford (415) 252-3100

At its regular monthly meeting on February 15, 2019, the San Francisco Ethics Commission re-elected Daina Chiu to serve a second term as Commission Chair, and elected Commissioner Noreen Ambrose to serve as Vice-Chair for the coming year. According to Ethics Commission Bylaws, a member may serve a maximum of two consecutive one-year terms in office.

Daina Chiu was first elected as Ethics Commission Chair in April 2018 after serving as the Commission’s Vice Chair in 2017. She previously worked for McKesson Corporation where she was instrumental in designing and establishing the company’s first compliance training program, in addition to providing advice on a wide range of healthcare regulatory, privacy, ethics hotline, corporate, and antitrust matters. Prior to McKesson, Chiu was in private practice where she focused on mergers and acquisitions, corporate and financial matters. Chiu earned a Juris Doctor degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley. She also graduated summa cum laude with bachelor degrees in Chinese Language & Literature and English Literature from University of California, Berkeley. Commissioner Chiu was appointed to the Ethics Commission in April 2016 by the Assessor-Recorder for a six-year term ending in February 2022.

Noreen Ambrose was appointed to the Ethics Commission by the City Attorney in May 2018 to fill the unexpired term of former Ethics Commissioner Kevin Ryan, who resigned in May 2018. Ambrose was appointed as a deputy city attorney in 1983 and retired in 2017. During her tenure with the City Attorney’s Office, she advised the City Administrator’s Office and the Planning Commission until 1997, and then was appointed General Counsel to the Port Commission from 1997 to 2006, and as Utilities General Counsel to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission from 2006 to 2017. In addition to managing those Commissions’ legal affairs, she handled a variety of projects, including the 1984 Democratic Convention contracts, the first Mission Bay development agreement, the Port’s Waterfront Land Use Plan, the historic renovation of the landmark Ferry Building and other piers, and the recent $4.6 billion capital improvement of the dams, tunnels and pipelines of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System. Ambrose graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Urban Studies, summa cum laude, and was awarded a joint Juris Doctorate and Masters of City and Regional Planning from the University of California Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law. Her current term on the Ethics Commission runs through Feb. 1, 2020, and she will be eligible to serve a full six-year term when that term expires.

In a separate action taken at the Commission’s February meeting, the San Francisco Ethics Commission approved a $1,000 penalty in a settlement agreement with San Francisco firefighter Joseph Certain for having used City resources for personal purposes in violation of City law and the San Francisco Fire Department’s Statement of Incompatible Activities. As detailed in a Stipulation, Decision, and Order, the Commission assessed the penalty against Mr. Certain for appearing in an online video that he filmed inside a City firehouse to promote his personal business while wearing his San Francisco Fire Department uniform and by associating his City position with the product he was attempting to sell.

San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 3.218 requires each City department to identify outside activities that are incompatible with employment in that department and therefore are prohibited. Among the prohibitions of the San Francisco Fire Department’s Statement of Incompatible Activities is use of City resources, including facilities and supplies, for any political or personal purpose, and the use of City titles or resources for any communication that may lead the recipient to believe an employee is acting in his or her government capacity when they are not.

Under the San Francisco Charter, the Ethics Commission is authorized to assess administrative penalties of up to $5,000 per count, or three times the amount not properly reported. Violations of the law also may be resolved through a Stipulation, Decision, and Order in which a respondent acknowledges the violation and the respondent and Commission agree to settle and resolve all factual and legal issues in the matter without the need for administrative hearing.

Copies of the Stipulation, Decision, and Order can be obtained on the Ethics Commission’s website at sfethics.org or by contacting the Commission at ethics.commission@sfgov.org or (415) 252-3100.

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