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Executive Director’s Report – October 5, 2020


To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 8 – Executive Director’s Report for October 2020


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

Action Requested

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

Mayoral Executive Directive 20-02

On September 24th the Mayor issued Executive Directive 20-02 directing Department Heads to comply with the City’s behested payment requirements that apply to City elected officials and members of boards and commissions that are contained in Article III, Chapter 6 of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code. This includes the filing of behested payment Form SFEC-3610(b). Information on the Commission’s website has been updated to reflect this Executive Directive and Department Heads can use the Commission’s existing online filing process linked there to file their disclosure reports. Staff are in communication with the Mayor’s Office regarding these updates and will be available to assist Department Heads with their filings as necessary.

Controller’s Office Policy and Process Assessments

As separately discussed under Item 5 on this month’s Agenda, the Controller’s Office recently completed its second in a series of policy and process assessments in consultation with the Office of the City Attorney in the wake that office’s investigation stemming from alleged wrongdoing by former Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.

On September 24, the Controller’s Office issued its second report, Preliminary Assessment: Gifts to Departments Through Non-City Organizations Lack Transparency and Create Pay-to-Play Risk. This report summarizes gifts and support benefitting city departments from city contractors and building permit applicants and holders through non-city organizations, including what are known as “Friends of” organizations. Staff from the Controller’s Office will present the findings and recommendations of this report as an informational item for the Commission’s information and discussion. Issues and recommendations identified in these reports are being incorporated into the Commission’s ongoing policy work, and Staff will remain in communication with the Controller’s Office regarding the release of future assessment reports and will continue to invite future presentations to the Commission as additional reports are released.

Public Financing in the November 2020 Election 

As of October 2, 2020, 16 of the 22 Board of Supervisors candidates who opted to participate in the public financing program and who are appearing on the November 3, 2020 ballot have now qualified to receive public funds in this election cycle. In sum, the 16 candidates together have qualified to receive over $2.7 million in public financing. Candidates’ public financing disbursements are illustrated visually on the Commission’s November 20 campaign finance dashboards by selecting the “Public Financing” tab from the series of tabs shown just above the “Received Funds” header. From there, the Public Financing page shows two charts that detail the amount of public funds disbursed to date to each candidate and show a running total of all disbursements issued to date.

In addition to ongoing matching funds submission disbursement reviews over the past month, Staff also conducted a further qualification analysis and review in preparation for a qualification determination appeal submitted by Board of Supervisors District 1 candidate Veronica Shinzato. Ms. Shinzato was notified on September 9 of my determination that, based on her committee’s timely-submitted Qualification Requests, she had not demonstrated the requisite threshold of contributions sufficient to qualify for program eligibility. Upon further review and analysis, however, Staff determined that six contributions totaling $525 were in fact eligible and should have been counted toward her eligibility threshold. As a result, I provided a corrected determination to Ms. Shinzato on October 1 that her committee had qualified for participation in the program and directed Staff to initiate the processing of her initial grant payment. Subsequently, Ms. Shinzato withdrew her request for an appeal before the Commission.

To date, no publicly financed candidate has had their individual expenditure ceiling adjusted due to third party spending in their race. As part of an ongoing review of the public financing program, following the November 2020 election we anticipate providing an overview to the Commission of the program and its operations in this first election cycle under program changes that were adopted in 2019.

Budget Update

On October 1, the Board of Supervisors voted to give final passage of the FY 2021 – 2022 budget. Both the Budget and Appropriation Ordinance for Departments (File No. 200567) and the Annual Salary Ordinance (File 200568), which enumerates citywide staffing positions and specifies their compensation for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2021 and June 30, 2022, were acted on. Both were adopted by a vote of 10 to 1, with Supervisor Stefani in the dissent.

The Mayor signed the budget on Oct 2. In a press statement announcing her signing of the City’s $13.6 billion FY21 budget, the Mayor underscored the unique challenges the city faced in putting together this year’s budget. The statement also noted that changing revenue projections and the outcome of a ballot measure in the November election are factors that could impact the city’s general fund going forward.

Staff have initiated preliminary research into potential models for developing a Citywide Integrity Fund and anticipate bringing further information to the Commission at the November meeting.

Hiring Plan

Acting Deputy Director Jeff Pierce, Acting Chief Operating Officer Steven Massey, and I will be meeting with staff from the Department of Human Resources (DHR) the week of October 13 to map out our FY21 Hiring Plan in order to expedite the filling in early 2021 of ongoing position vacancies that continue to impact our work:

Table 1 – Position Vacancies

Position Division Class Exempt or Civil Service
Customer Service Specialist (Form 700) Engagement & Compliance 1840 Exempt/Three-Yr Limited Term
IS Engineer Electronic Disclosure & Data Analysis 1042 Exempt/Three-Yr Limited Term
Policy Analyst Policy & Legislative Affairs 1822 Civil Service
Investigator Enforcement 1822 Civil Service
Audits Manager Audits 1824 Civil Service

Additionally, should the filling of any of these positions result in vacancies in other positions on staff, those positions will also require backfill in FY21 to ensure continuity of commission programs and operations.

With the FY21 and 22 budgets last week adopted by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the Mayor, the annual operating budget for the Ethics Commission now reflects increased funds as shown in Table 2 for the Commission’s ongoing DHR work order arrangement.

Table 2 – Budgeted DHR Work Order


Fiscal Year DHR Work Order Total
FY20 $62,500
FY21 $97,500
FY22 $196,900

Recruitments undergo a variety of steps that constitute distinct phases of the City’s hiring process. Specific steps and the length of time required for each phase can vary depending on whether the position is an exempt appointment or an exam-based (permanent civil service or “PCS”) position. Table 3 below illustrates these phases and typical processes involved at each stage for vacancies filled through the civil service hiring process.

Table 3 – Illustration of Operational Phases and Steps Involved in Hiring Process

Recruitment and Selection Process Development 

Recruitment and Selection Process Development 

Phase Steps
Recruitment Process
  • Prepare or update Job Analysis Questionnaire
  • Draft job announcement for posting to describe knowledge, skills, abilities (KSAs), and minimum and desired qualifications of the position
  • Develop Supplemental Questions for exam to assess KSAs
  • Identify weighting and develop Rating Guide for evaluation of Supplemental Questions
  • Identify Subject Matter Experts for panel that will rate supplemental question responses
  • Develop oral interview exam questions
  • Identify oral interview exam panelists
  • Develop Rating Guide for oral interview exam
Posting Period
  • Number of days the announcement is posted
  • Ongoing outreach to circulate application to inform potential candidates
Selection Process
  • Applicants screened for minimum qualifications (MQs)
  • Subject Matter Expert panel rates applicants’ Supplemental Question responses
  • Ratings collected and reviewed by DHR
  • Candidates that do not meet MQs are notified and allowed an appeals period/process
  • DHR schedules, administers, and scores core exam (when applicable for position class)
  • DHR creates list of eligible candidates based on candidates’ performance on City’s core exam and Supplemental Questionnaire response ratings
  • DHR provides notice of scores and resulting ranking to applicants
  • DHR handles any appeals from applicants that did not meet MQs
  • DHR identifies adopted Eligible List with applicant rankings
  • Eligible list provided to department for post-referral interview/oral exam process
Post-Referral Process


  • Department uses eligible list to schedule oral interviews based on candidate ranking
  • Oral interview panel administers interviews
  • Panel rates oral interviews
  • Department places candidates in rank order based on oral interviews
  • Finalist identified
Appointment Processing
  •   Selected candidate notified
  • Education and experience verified
  • Reference checks conducted
  • Fingerprinting scheduled and performed at DHR
  • Await fingerprinting results
  • Department creates and secures signed offer letter and start date
  • Referral paperwork is completed and referral is closed
  • Payroll process initiated
End Date
  • New hire starts job
  • Departmental onboarding begins

Revenues Report

Table 4 below shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2020, as of October 2, 2020.

Table 4 – Summary of FY20-21 Revenues

Source FY 20-21 Budgeted Amount FY 20-21 Receipts as of Oct. 2, 2020
Lobbyist Registration Fees $85,000 $11,500
Lobbyists Fines $2,000 $600
Campaign Consultants Fees $7,000 $2,150
Other General Government Charge (e.g., copies made by public) $2,450 $0
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees $1,250 $780
Campaign Consultant Fines $2,000 $0
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures) $50,000 $6,025
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission $7,500 $2,525
Major Developer Fees $0 $0
Total $157,200 $23,580

I look forward to answering any questions or providing further information at the upcoming Commission meeting.

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