News – Ethics Commission Submits Expanded $6.76 Million Budget Request to Confront “Insidious Crisis” of Corruption and Restore Public Trust

The Commission proposes a 28% increase to strengthen enforcement and institute practical training that engages employees and contractors to build a culture of ethics citywide.

Date: February 22, 2021 
Contact: Pat Ford (patrick.ford@sfgov.org)

Citing the need to address an “insidious crisis” of “corruption convictions and indictments involving bribery, fraud, self-dealing, contract bid rigging and pay-to-play entitlements infecting multiple City departments,” the five-member Ethics Commission today released a statement cautioning that a 7.5% cut to the department’s budget, as targeted in the Mayor’s FY22 budget instructions, would ignore the urgent need for “investing in public integrity and making government effective for and accountable to the people of San Francisco.”

The Commission highlighted that, “as with any budget – whether government, corporate or personal – the allocation of resources is a bellwether indicator of priorities.”  Addressing the Mayor’s stated budget priorities, the Commissioners noted that “without addressing corruption, our ability to accomplish these goals and rise again is greatly diminished.” The Commission also addressed the ongoing corruption scandal plaguing several City departments, saying that “[w]e are living with the consequences of corruption” and that “equity is not advanced when the public loses faith in the legitimacy of government and opts out of participating.”

To meet the breadth of its anti-corruption mandates, the Commission submitted to the Mayor’s Office today a proposed total operating budget of $6.76 million, which would be a 28 percent budget increase. The Commission has proposed adding eight new positions for training and investigations to its existing staff of 25. These positions would play a critical role in the City’s response to the ongoing corruption scandal by ramping up enforcement of ethics violations and training City officials and employees about their ethical obligations.

A copy of the Commission’s FY22 departmental budget request can be found here.

The statement issued by the Commission’s five-member panel can be accessed here.

Additional background on the Commission’s proposed budget can be accessed here.

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The San Francisco Ethics Commission was created directly by the City’s voters with the passage of Proposition K in November 1993 and is responsible for the independent and impartial administration and enforcement of laws related to campaign finance, public financing of candidates, governmental ethics, conflicts of interests, and registration and reporting by lobbyists, campaign consultants, permit consultants, and major developers. 

Our mission is to practice and promote the highest standards of integrity in government. We achieve that by delivering impactful programs that promote fair, transparent, and accountable governmental decision making for the benefit of all San Franciscans. Public service is a public trust, and our aim is to ensure that San Franciscans can have confidence that the operations of the City and County and the decisions made by its officials and employees are fair, just, and made without any regard to private or personal gain.

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