Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – February 14, 2020

To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 7 – Executive Director’s Report for February 2020

Summary 

This report provides various programmatic and operational highlights since the Executive Director’s Report at the last monthly Commission meeting.

Action Requested

No action is required by the Commission, as this item is for informational purposes only.

US Attorney Announces Public Corruption Charges Against Former Public Works Director

As ongoing media reports have detailed publicly, the US Attorney’s Office announced on January 28, 2020 the arrest and filing of public corruption charges against former San Francisco Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru, who resigned his City position on February 10. As is the case with other City departments, these events have prompted our office to critically assess whether and how any operations or laws within the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission may need strengthening to reinforce ethical practices in the City and help restore the public’s trust. The unfolding events underscore a clear need for the City to devote much greater resources to supporting the highest standards of ethical conduct in practice. The Commission’s recommendations toward that end are addressed as a separate item in connection with the Commission’s FY21 budget discussion under Agenda Item 4.

Program Implementation Update: Electronically filed Form 700 Statement of Economic Interest records fully available as open data

Early this month Commission Staff completed one of the open data milestones we identified for this fiscal year by making electronically filed Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) financial disclosures of over 600 City officials from over a six-year period fully available as open data on the City’s DataSF data portal.  By continuing to prioritize projects that provide the public with disclosed information in the most accessible formats possible, the Commission has provided open datasets for the public to search and explore 20,000 reported financial interests disclosed electronically in over 3,600 filings by elected officials, board and commission members, and department heads between 2014 and 2019. The Commission’s website also continues to provide access to the Form 700 filings through a searchable database on at sfethics.org/sei. The new open datasets at DataSF offer a more powerful tool to conduct broader research across time periods and tailor searches with greater precision across all filings for reportable  financial interests including income, investments, business entities, non-governmental salaries, real estate, gifts, and travel payments from third parties.  In addition, the data is accessible via an Application Programming Interface (API), which enables software applications to conduct more advanced research.  The new Form 700 datasets are updated daily with the latest disclosure filings with the support of the DataSF team.

Ethics Information Sessions for MEA Members

Following agreement in last year’s contract negotiations between the City and the Municipal Executives Association (MEA), a new provision in the MEA Memorandum of Understanding was established to provide an in-person ethics information session for MEA members at least once a year. Commission staff conduct these sessions in partnership with MEA and the City Attorney’ Office. The sessions are designed to support MEA members in refreshing their awareness of key provisions of the law and highlighting various resources and tools available to promote their compliance with ethics provisions that apply to them. Two lunch sessions are scheduled for February 20 and March 5.

Annual Form 700 Filer Information Sessions

The Commission’s Engagement & Compliance staff have scheduled four information sessions for Form 700 filers and the departmental staff that administer the annual filings for their designated filers. This year’s annual filing deadline is April 1. Two sessions for departmental Filing Officers are scheduled for March 5 and 11, with sessions for designated filers to be held March 17 and March 18. These sessions provide a focused review of core financial disclosure requirements and the filing process, but also provide the opportunity to highlight recent changes to related City laws and answer questions about how state and City ethics laws work in practice.

SF Fellows Work Now Underway

Since my last report to the Commission we have welcomed four dynamic and talented San Francisco Fellows to their spring project at the Ethics Commission: Victoria Bryant; David Exume; Mitzi Chavez Gallardo; and Samantha (“Sam”) Serafica.  Sam, Mitzi, David and Victoria are dedicating Wednesday afternoons through early April on a team project to develop new outreach materials, including for translation into non-English languages, to help broaden awareness of the Commission’s work.  We look forward to introducing them and their work to you at a Commission meeting later this Spring.

Staffing and Hiring

Table 1 below provides a snapshot of the Commission’s current position vacancies.

Table 1 – Position Vacancies

Position Working TitleWork GroupStatusTypeJob Class Title/No
Investigative AnalystEnforcement DivisionEligibility List determination underway.Vacancy/non-exemptAdministrative Analyst (1822)
Policy AnalystPolicy DivisionPosition posting under review.Vacancy/non-exemptAdministrative Analyst (1822)
Senior Information Systems Business AnalystElectronic Disclosure &  Data Analysis DivisionPosition posting under review.Vacancy/non-exemptSenior Information Systems Business Analyst (1053)
Principal Program Manager for AuditsAudit DivisionReview of position posting pending.Vacancy/non-exemptPrincipal Administrative Analyst (1824)

Additional updates regarding these positions will be shared as they become available.

Board of Supervisor’s Audit of Ethics Commission initiated by Budget & Legislative Analyst

On January 28, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Motion by Board President Yee to require its Budget and Legislative Analyst to conduct a performance audit of the Ethics Commission as a priority in FY19-20.  BLA Auditors held an entrance meeting with Commission Staff on February 5 to discuss the scope and timeline for the audit.  Work is now underway and is anticipated to be completed later this spring with a public report to the Board of Supervisors at the conclusion of the BLA’s work.

Update on Ethics Commission December 2020 meeting date

Due to Commissioner scheduling conflicts the December 2020 Commission meeting date has been revised to Monday, December 14, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. instead of Friday December 11 at 9:30 a.m.

Revenues Report

The table below shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2019, as of February 14, 2020.

Table 2 – Summary to Date of FY19-20 Revenues

SourceFY 19-20 Budgeted AmountFY 19-20 Receipts as of February 14, 2020
Lobbyist Registration Fees$85,000$96,350
Lobbyists Fines$2,000$9,450
Campaign Consultants Fees$7,000$14,725
Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public$2,450$23
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees$1,250$1,160
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$5,600
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures)$50,000$60,394
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission$7,500$15,827
Major Developer Fee$0$1,500
Total$157,200$205,029

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

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