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Executive Director’s Report – May 23, 2019


To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 8 – Executive Director’s Report for the May 2019 Commission Meeting


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.

Budget Update

As reported verbally at last month’s Commission meeting, the Committee on Information Technology (“COIT”) declined at its April 12 meeting to approve funding for the Commission’s proposed three-year technology solutions project, Making Disclosure Meaningful: Data Sharing and Analysis Tools for an Informed Public. In continued discussion with budget staff in the Office of the Mayor, we understand that the Mayor’s budget proposal will include funding from the General Fund for an exempt position to perform this work in the coming fiscal year. We also understand that the items recommended by the Mayor will include a reclassification of an existing Engagement & Compliance Officer from a Management Assistant (1842) to a Senior Management Assistant (1844).

We were not able to secure approval from the Mayor’s Office for $44,000 to reallocate two other positions in the audit and enforcement division. In both cases, we sought a realignment of an Administrative Analyst position (1822) to a Senior Administrative Analyst classification (1823). In addition, our request for funding for services of Department of Human Resources was reduced from $97,200 to $37,000.  We had requested $62,200 in our budget submission for technology related items such as software licenses, laptops, and technical services to support ongoing operational needs, of which $49,700 has been allocated as a one-time funding in the upcoming fiscal year.  We also understand that the Election Campaign Fund will be allocated roughly $6.8 million in FY20 to meet the required funding formulas established under the law.

Once the Mayor’s Budget recommendations are finalized, the Board of Supervisors will begin its FY20 budget hearings. The Ethics Commission budget is expected to be considered at its meeting on June 12.

Engagement & Compliance Program Updates

The Engagement and Compliance division has been focused on providing support and assistance to filers for core filing deadlines and developing compliance tools and resources for new programmatic requirements under the law.

Annual Statements of Economic Interest Filings (Form 700)

Annual financial disclosure statements required to be filed by City officials and designated employees were due Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Annual Ethics and Sunshine Ordinance Training Declaration Forms required to be filed by City officials were due Monday, April 1, 2019. This year’s compliance percentage for annual Form 700 filed electronically by City officials with the Ethics Commission is 96% and annual Ethics and Sunshine Ordinance Training is 92%. All e-filed annual Form 700 and training declaration forms are available in the Commission’s SEI Disclosures database. The database also provides information regarding e-filers who have not filed their required statements.

Lobbying Program Update

Lobbyists are required to electronically file monthly reports with the Ethics Commission by the fifteenth of each month to disclose lobbying activity during the prior calendar month. Program staff have been providing filing assistance and support to lobbyists and their representatives for the May 15th filing deadline. Of the 192 active lobbyists with a filing deadline this month, 99.5% have filed their disclosure reports. Information regarding Contact Lobbyists registered with the Ethics Commission and their monthly disclosures can be accessed through the Commission’s Lobbyist directory.

Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance (ACAO) Implementation

The Engagement and Compliance team is working on implementing processes and procedures required to administer new provisions of law enacted by the Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance (ACAO). Staff has been collaborating with Policy and EDDA divisions to develop new disclosure forms and compliance materials. Several disclosure forms have been implemented electronically and remaining forms are being finalized this month. Pending forms will be rolled out on paper over the next two weeks, while staff continue to work on e-filing automation for all remaining forms which is anticipated to be completed by the end of June. Commission staff is also working on putting together outreach and communication materials to be sent out in June to help inform filers about the new forms and filing procedures.

Trustee Elections Reporting

In 2018, the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor approved amendments to the Administrative Code to institute certain campaign activity reporting by candidates and third parties making expenditures in elections for members of the following boards for the City and County of San Francisco: Retirement Board, Health Service Board, and Retiree Health Care Trust Fund Board. Retiree Health Care Trust Fund Board election is currently in progress (May 13 – 28, 2019) while Health Service Board election which was initially scheduled for this month has been cancelled as there are no competing candidates for open seats. Commission staff created online compliance guides, training materials, and filing resources to inform candidates about applicable laws and filing obligations. Staff also sent out notices to remind candidates about pre-election disclosures and related deadlines. Program staff have also been providing one-on-one support to filers to set-up their e-filing accounts and ensure compliance.

November 2019 Election Update

In preparation for the upcoming election, Commission staff is working on updating guides, website, and filing resources for candidates and committees, to reflect the new laws that are in effect this year. Staff will also be holding a training session for candidates and their treasurers on Thursday, June 6, 2019 to provide information and resources regarding campaign finance laws and filing requirements. Under City law, candidates for City elective office and their treasurers must attend a training conducted by the Ethics Commission prior to each election in which the candidate’s name will appear on the ballot. Staff is also finalizing compliance materials and resources for the upcoming training session and has notified candidates and committees regarding the session. Additional communications will be sent out in June to provide candidates and committees with guides, resources, and reminders.

Staff News

I am very sorry to announce that Policy Analyst Brian Cox will be returning to the Public Defender’s office as a Deputy Public Defender to do policy work on criminal justice reform under the new leadership of PD Manojar Raju. Brian joined the Commission’s Policy staff on February 25 after serving as a Legal Assistant in the Public Defender’s Office since 2015. We greatly appreciate the contribution Brian made during his tenure to the Commission’s policy work on public financing. Brian’s last day on staff will be May 31, and we wish him continued success in his work with the City and County of San Francisco.

Revenues Report

Table 1 shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2018, as of May 21, 2019.

Table 1- Summary of FY 2018-19 Revenues

Source FY 18-19 Budgeted Amount FY 18-19 Receipts as of May 21, 2019
Lobbyist Registration Fees $85,000 $97,250
Lobbyists Fines $2,000 $1,915
Campaign Consultants Fees $7,000 $8,950
Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public $2,450 $2,514
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees $1,250 $220
Campaign Consultant Fines $2,000 $750
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures) $50,000 $53,275
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission $7,500 $28,670
Major Developer Fee $0 $4,500
Total $157,200 $198,044

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

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