Executive Director’s Report – April 5, 2021

Date: April 5, 2021
To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 8 – Executive Director’s Report for April 2021

Summary

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.

This month’s report includes updates about the April 1 annual filing of financial disclosure statements by city officers and designated employees; an update on the Commission’s FY22 budget; and hiring news.

Annual Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700) Filings

Annual public financial disclosure statements for City officers and designated employees were due April 1, 2021. Forms certifying completion of Annual Ethics and Sunshine Ordinance training were also required to be filed by City officials by that date.

Over 500 elected Officials, Commissioners, Board Members, and Department Heads were required to file their Form 700 and training certifications electronically with the Ethics Commission. Over 94 percent of these electronic filers had submitted their filings by the April 1 deadline. All electronically filed annual Form 700 statements and training declarations are publicly available through the Ethics Commission’s SEI Disclosures web page.

More than 3,000 additional filers designated under the law were required to file their disclosure statements on paper with their departments. Based on filing officer reports that must be submitted under City law on or before April 10th by every department, the names and positions of any filer who was required to file but failed to do so by the statutory deadline will be made accessible through the Ethics Commission website.

On April 2, to help heighten public awareness of the Form 700 requirements and financial disclosure filings, Staff updated our home page to direct the public to new context and links designed to facilitate improved understanding and access to these latest filings. Also on April 2, Staff sent individual notices to City Commissioners and Board Members who appeared to have unfulfilled annual filing requirements at that time to inform them of their pending filing obligations and resulting disqualification until such time that their filings are complete. Those notices were copied to that individual’s appointing authority and department head.

Form 700s that are filed late are subject to a late fee of $10 per day up to a maximum of $100. In addition, the Ethics Commission and the state Fair Political Practices Commission may take steps to initiate an enforcement action against a filer who is more than 30 days late in filing their Form 700 Statement of Economic Interest Under state law, failure to file a Form 700 can subject the filer to a fine of up to $5,000 per violation. In addition, willful failure to file may be a misdemeanor, and non-filers may also be subject disciplinary action under City law.

In addition, having now filled key staffing vacancies at the Commission as highlighted later in this report, and as discussed at the Commission’s June 2020 meeting with presentation of the Controller’s Office Public Integrity Report on San Francisco Public Works Contracting, the Commission will now be able to begin developing a Form 700 post-filing compliance review process to strengthen oversight of officials’ economic interest filings. This work will be conducted in parallel to our priority expansion of e-filing for all designated Form 700 filers, which is slated launch in January 2022.

Staff will be available at the Commission’s meeting on April 9 to provide an update on the latest filing data at that time.

FY22 Budget Update

Since the last Commission meeting Staff has met with the Mayor’s Budget Office to further review the Commission’s FY22 Ethics Commission Budget request, which called for a 28% increase in the Commission’s operating budget, including to strengthen enforcement, institute practical ethics training for city employees and contractors, and establish regular program performance reporting tools. In the meeting, Staff highlighted and re-emphasized the essential need for these critical resources as requested in our budget submission to fulfill Commission’s pressing priorities.

Based on a press release issued March 31 by the Mayor’s Office, over $630 million in federal stimulus funds will help the City prevent layoffs and cuts to basic services for the upcoming two-year budget that begins July 1.

Additional information will continue to be posted on the Commission’s budget webpage as developments warrant.

Hiring News

Finally, I am very happy to share news that we are welcoming five new staff members to the Ethics Commission this month, with three individuals starting on April 5 and two starting April 19.

Elaine Bozonelos joins the Engagement & Compliance Division as our new Client Support Specialist on April 5th. In this capacity Elaine will serve as a front line staff person to provide technical assistance and support to departmental filers and filing officers during Statement of Economic Interests Form 700 e-filing project planning and implementation, and other Commission programs. Elaine brings extensive customer support experience to this role, including with rolling out product updates and new procedures to multiple business departments. She spent the last nine years with Ticketfly/Eventbrite in SOMA as Customer Support Supervisor and Senior Product Trainer, where she provided client support training, identified learning needs through research and surveys, created customer support onboarding materials, migrated multiple clients across business products, and collaborated across departments on strategies for new product releases. Previously, after earning a B.S. Business Administration degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Elaine also worked as Box Office Supervisor at the Fillmore with Bill Graham Presents and oversaw the box office operation at the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Michael Canning also joins the Staff on April 5th as Policy Analyst in the Policy Division. As Policy Analyst, Michael will play a major role in our Government Ethics Policy Project to provide focused resources for researching, developing, and recommending legislative and policy approaches to strengthen the City’s ethics laws and address issues revealed in ongoing federal corruption investigations of San Francisco officials and contractors. Previously, Michael worked as Voting Information Director at MapLight, where he led the development of Voter’s Edge, an online tool that helps members of the public access information about political candidates. Michael has experience performing market and policy research and analysis, stakeholder engagement, and project management within multiple Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and private consulting firms. His prior areas of work have included campaign finance, political campaigns, food security, and labor issues. Michael holds a dual master’s degree in Public Policy and Business Administration from the Mills College Lorry I. Lokey School of Business Administration and Public Policy and received his BA in Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C.

Jianfu “Alvin” Situ starts on April 5th as our new information Systems Analyst. In this role Alvin will support the Electronic Disclosure & Data Analysis (EDDA) Division in the oversight, maintenance, and enhancements of the Commission’s online filing system implementation for registration and disclosure requirements of the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, Lobbyist Ordinance, Campaign Consultant Ordinance, and other laws within the Commission’s jurisdiction. This also includes working with the Form 700 e-filing project team to deploy and support citywide electronic filing of the Statement of Economic Interests by designated filers.  Alvin will also serve as an information systems resource for the department and will be the primary support person for systems and users and responding to service requests. Most recently, Alvin was the IT Manager for Billpex, where he coordinated the development of IT projects for clients’ evolving business requirements and assisted in the development of quality assurance processes for ecommerce websites. Previously, he also worked as a Data Analyst with the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, where he received his BS in Computer Science with a minor in Statistics.

On April 19, we welcome Linda Fong as our new Audit and Compliance Review Manager to lead the Audit Division. In this capacity, Linda will play an essential role in shaping core oversight functions at the Commission and in working with the Audit team to strengthen program effectiveness. Linda will be responsible for leading implementation of continuous improvement, including measures to address audit-related recommendations of the August 2020 Budget and Legislative Analyst (BLA) performance audit report to improve program tracking and audit completion timeframes and formalize auditor training. Linda will also have responsibility for the development and implementation of new business processes to establish and conduct regular post-filing compliance reviews, starting with Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700) as recommended in the Controller’s June 2020 Public Integrity Review report. Linda brings extensive audit and operational risk management experience to this role from the financial services industry, where she served at Wells Fargo in various capacities from Staff Auditor, to Audit Project Leader, and Vice President/Operational Risk Consultant. She has conducted, developed, and led audits to assess the effectiveness of the internal control environment and compliance with policies, procedures, and applicable legal and regulatory requirements across functional business areas to develop recommendations and follow up on implementation plans. In these roles she has supervised teams, ensured project completion, and supported the professional development of team members across geographic locations. Her experience at Wells Fargo included eight years as VP in Operational Risk, where she identified, analyzed, and evaluated operational risk associated with business process, projects, and initiatives. In addition to holding a degree from San Francisco State University in Business Administration, Linda’s certifications have included as a Certified Public Accountant and as a Certified Fiduciary and Investment Risk Specialist.

Eamonn Wilson will also start on April 19, joining us as an Investigator in the Enforcement Division.  In this capacity, Eamonn will perform complex investigative analyses and investigations and, with colleagues on the investigative team, implement measures addressed in findings and recommendations of the BLA’s performance audit report, including to help reduce timeframes for resolving investigative matters while ensuring fair, objective, and high quality investigations. Prior to joining the Commission staff, Eamonn was an Auditor Evaluator with the California State Auditor’s Office, where he analyzed financial data and other public agency documents in conducting performance audits at various state agencies and financially high-risk cities to identify lapses in accountability. He also has experience as a public policy intern with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, was a teaching assistant while at the University of California, San Diego, and was a Research Student at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Global Security Directorate. Eamonn received a BA in Political Science from UCLA and holds a Master of Public Policy from UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.

Separately, we anticipate posting this week the job announcement to fill the vacant Senior Investigator and Legal Analyst (1823) position in the Enforcement Division.  Further updates on the 1822 Auditor vacancy that also will be filled will be provided at the May Commission meeting.

Revenues Reports

The table below reflects revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2020, as of April 2, 2021.

Summary of FY20-21 Revenues

 FY20-21 Budgeted AmountFY20-21 Receipts as of April 2, 2021
Lobbyist Registration Fees$85,000$103,500
Lobbyists Fines$2,000$1,800
Campaign Consultants Fees$7,000$5,350
Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public$2,450$0
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees$1,250$950
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$1,900
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures)$50,000$21,460
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission$7,500$32,318
Major Developer Fee$0$500
Total$157,200$167,778

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

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