State law requires all public agencies in California to identify all agency officials and employees who make or participate in making governmental decisions in their jurisdiction and requires those individuals to file a public Statement of Economic Interests, or Form 700.
Public agencies must codify their lists of designated filer in a Conflict of Interest Code through legislative action by a local code reviewing body, which for the City and County of San Francisco is the Board of Supervisors. San Francisco’s Conflict of Interest Code appears in the City’s Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, where each City department’s list of designated filers occupies a separate code section. To keep the Codes current, State law requires each agency to review its list of Form 700 filers no less than every two years and to make any changes that are necessary to bring it into compliance with state law.
How Departments Identify Designated Positions
The list of designated positions that must file a Form 700 is developed by each department by assessing which positions “involve the making or participation in the making of decisions which may foreseeably have a material effect on any financial interest.”
Making or Participating in Making Governmental Decisions
According to FPPC regulations, a person makes a governmental decision if the person “authorizes or directs any action, votes, appoints a person, obligates or commits his or her agency to any course of action, or enters into any contractual agreement on behalf of his or her agency.” Separately, participating in a government decision occurs when a person “provides information, an opinion, or a recommendation for the purpose of affecting [a governmental] decision without significant intervening substantive review.”
“Reasonably Foreseeable” Financial Effect
Public officials and employees who make or participate in making governmental decisions must be designated as a Form 700 filer if it is reasonably foreseeable that those decisions will have an effect on any financial interests, regardless of whether they are financial interests of the officer or employee in question. In practice, many governmental decisions have effects on financial interests. Each agency is unique and the state FPPC advises departments to closely review job duty statements and organizational charts. The City Attorney’s Office and Ethics Commission are available to help departments with questions and to support the biennial code review process to ensure agency codes accurately reflect positions required to file.
For More Information
Questions about whether or why a particular departmental position appears on a department’s list of designated filers under the City’s Conflict of Interest Code should be directed to that departmental Form 700 filing officer.
For additional information about Form 700 disclosure filings of officers and employees of the City and County of San Francisco, or the information disclosed in those filings, visit the Ethics Commission’s City Officer Disclosure page or contact the Ethics Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.