To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 10 – Executive Director’s Report for July 2021
This report provides various programmatic and operational highlights since the last Executive Director’s Report.
No action is required by the Commission, as this item is for informational purposes only.
Following the release of the Mayor’s proposed $13.1 billion City budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22, the Budget and Appropriations Committee of the Board of Supervisors began departmental hearings the week of June 11. The Mayor’s proposed operating budget for the Ethics Commission in FY22 is $6.55 million, reflecting a 38.7 percent increase from the Commission’s FY21 operating budget of $4.72 million. The Mayor’s proposal would fund the full set of budget requests the Ethics Commission sought in its FY22 Ethics Commission Budget request. At the Commission’s departmental presentation on June 11, Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer Gayathri Thaikkendiyil provided the Budget committee with an overview of the Commission’s budget request and the Mayor’s recommendations. The Committee had no questions and had no discussion of the Commission’s budget. The full Board is expected to take final action on the budget later this month. At that time, should the Board adopt the Commission’s proposed budget as we anticipate it will, new funding will be authorized to address the following key needs:
- four training specialists to establish an ethics training and outreach team for our new Ethics@Work project designed to equip City officials, employees, and contractors with tools to effectively navigate ethical issues in public service and actively contribute to a citywide culture of integrity;
- three new senior investigators to reduce case resolution times and increase the number, proportion, and severity of cases investigated by the Commission; and
- one program performance and reporting analyst to develop and implement standardized methods to track and regularly report on the performance of the department’s core functions.
Legislative Status Report: Behested Payments Ordinance
Behested Payments amendments proposed by the Ethics Commission in November 2020 remain pending scheduling by the Rules Committee. As reported in the May Staff Policy Report, these amendments to the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code would prohibit all City officers and Form 700 (Statement of Economic Interest) designated filers from soliciting behested payments from those defined as interested parties. In March, Supervisor Haney introduced a substitute version (BOS File 201132) that mirrors the majority of the Commission’s legislative proposal, and the ordinance is co-sponsored by Supervisors Peskin and Chan. Commission staff worked with the Department of Human Resources and Supervisor Haney’s staff in April and May to successfully complete the meet and confer process with employee bargaining units about the impacts of the ordinance. With the meet and confer process completed in May and the Board’s focus on the annual Budget process concluding later this month, we will continue to press for the legislation to be taken up at the next earliest date by the Rules Committee Chaired by Supervisor Peskin. The Board of Supervisors will be on a planned August recess beginning July 27 through Labor Day.
The application period for the Senior Investigator and Legal Analyst position that opened in early May closed in early June. The position is now in the candidate review phase of the hiring process.
The application window for the vacant Auditor position began with the posting of a job announcement in mid-June. Applications will continue to be accepted through next week.
With the anticipated adoption of the City’s FY22 budget this month, we are placing priority focus on our FY22 Hiring Plan to fill the eight positions we anticipate being funded in the budget effective October 1.
Racial Equity Plan Status
Deputy Director Thaikkendiyil and I have been working with our DHR Client Services Consultant to develop potential next steps on several goals identified in our December 2020 departmental Racial Equity Action Plan. Action items related to Hiring and Recruitment will continue to be incorporated as we implement our FY22 Hiring Plan. We plan to provide a further status report to the Commission as of the first quarter of FY22 in October.
City Re-Opening Update
Since the Commission’s last meeting on June 11, a number of new developments have occurred regarding the City’s plans for re-opening physical offices as COVID-19 public policies and public health requirements continue to evolve with lower case rates and increasing vaccine rates. The new policies and requirements were developed to be consistent with recent changes to workplace safety regulations approved by Cal/OSHA and the Governor’s Executive Order accelerating the effective date of those revised regulations. Staff are reviewing the new policies and requirements to develop a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan as required by Cal/OSHA for each workplace.
Effective June 15, 2021, the City’s Health Officer issued a new Health Order, Safer Return Together, which will remain in effect until amended or rescinded by the Health Officer. The Mayor and City Administrator summarized changes to rules for City facilities in memos issued on June 11 and June 23 to all City Departments. The Department of Human Resources issued a new COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and a revised Face Covering at Work Policy on June 23, which require all employees to: 1) report their vaccination status to the City no later than July 29, 2021, and if they are fully vaccinated, to provide documentation to verify that status; and 2) be fully vaccinated and report that vaccination status to the City no later than 10 weeks after the Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA) gives final approval to at least one COVID-19 vaccine.
Further information about the re-opening of the Commission’s physical offices will be provided and posted on our website as warranted. Until then, ongoing business operations will remain conducted remotely as we continue to evaluate and develop requirements and plans for our office’s physical re-opening.
The table below reflects revenues received by the Commission for Fiscal Year 2021 as of June 30.
Summary of FY20-21 Revenues
|FY20-21 Budgeted Amount||FY20-21 Receipts as of June 30, 2021*|
|Lobbyist Registration Fees||$85,000||$113,000|
|Campaign Consultants Fees||$7,000||$7,375|
|Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public||$2,450||$530|
|Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees||$1,250||$1,330|
|Campaign Consultant Fines||$2,000||$1,900|
|Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures)||$50,000||$25,665|
|Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission||$7,500||$5,555|
|Major Developer Fee||$0||$500|
* Due to Fiscal Year 2021 year-end closeout processes, figures shown here remained the same as those reported as of June 7 in last month’s Executive Director Report.
I look forward to answering any questions or providing further information at the upcoming Commission meeting.