Executive Director’s Report – December 6, 2021

December 6, 2021
To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 9 – Executive Director Report for December 2021

Summary and Action Requested

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.

Program and Operational Updates

Form 700 E-filing for Designated COI Filers on Track for January Launch

Over the past year Commission Staff have been working diligently under the leadership of Engagement & Compliance Manager Rachel Gage to enable all City employees whose positions are designated in the City’s Conflict of Interest Code to file Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700) in an electronic format beginning in January 2022. In that process, Rachel and the Form 700 e-filing team have been collaborating closely with departmental Filing Officers to develop tools and guidance necessary to migrate filer data into the online environment for more than 4,000 new online filers, and to develop training on use of the online filing system. We are pleased to report that the e-filing process remains on track to launch next month and acknowledge the significant support and beneficial insights that departmental Filing Officers have contributed to this project. We look forward to providing additional updates next month.

New 2022 Election Campaign Finance Data Dashboards Now Online

Staff launched two new dashboards for the public to track disclosed campaign finance activity for the February 15, 2022 Municipal Special Election and June 7, 2022 Primary Election. The dashboards empower users to aggregate, filter, and search contributions and expenditures by contest, position, and committee. In addition, the dashboards highlight top contributors and their occupations and employers and allow users to view contributions by geographic regions. Staff will maintain and update the dashboards on business days through each election date. As always, we welcome all comments and feedback about the dashboards, which can be provided via the feedback links at the bottom of each dashboard web page. Dashboards for the November election will be posted following the filing of semi-annual statements due July 31 that cover campaign activities through June 30, 2022.

SF Ethics Cited in New Report Highlighting “Innovative Transparency Solutions”

The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center (CLC) issued a new report on December 6 focused on Top Ten Transparency Upgrades for Ethics Commissions, which includes highlights of public transparency work at the San Francisco Ethics Commission. According to the CLC, the purpose of the CLC analysis is “to provide state and local ethics commissions with innovative transparency solutions to improve how they effectively implement their ethics programs,” including to educate and advise officials, engage and inform the public, and enforce the law. The CLC plans a formal launch of its analysis in mid-January 2022 and reports that the  Council on Governmental Ethics Laws also plans to publish it on its website for COGEL members.

Legislative Update

The Policy Division has completed Phase III of the Commission’s project to review the City’s ethics and conflict-of-interest laws and has produced a report with recommendations to strengthen foundational provisions of the City’s ethics laws that are essential to the laws’ overall effectiveness. The report and recommendations appear for action under Item 7 on the Commission’s December 10 agenda.  As part of this work, Staff held two interested persons meetings as part of this research, one on November 16th and one on November 18th. The meetings were well attended by an array of stakeholders, and the input that was received has helped inform Staff’s work on the project.

Separately, the Board of Supervisors continues to consider legislation to enact the Commission’s recommendation regarding behested payments (File 201132). More details about that legislation are provided on the December 10 Agenda under Item 6.

Informational Item on Whistleblower Retaliation Case Activity Planned for January

In response to Commissioners’ recent inquiries about Whistleblower retaliation protections under City law, Staff plan to provide an informational update at the Commission’s January meeting. The report will provide a general update regarding Whistleblower retaliation case activity and highlight how the insights and experiences from investigating those types of allegations are informing Ethics@Work program content and planned outreach materials.

January Hearing on FY23 Departmental Budget

As part of a City Ordinance that took effect in 2020, departments are required to hold a public meeting concerning departmental budget priorities at which members of the public may provide input prior to the department finalizing a proposed budget. The meeting must be held at least 15 days prior to the commission’s final approval of the agency’s proposed budget. A second public hearing must be held no later than February 14 each year concerning the department’s proposed budget to allow for public input prior to the agency’s submission of their proposed budget. At that meeting, information provided must include information about the agency’s divisions; budget totals and major changes including new or reduced initiatives and staffing changes; changes in service levels; projected salary savings; and how the agency is meeting budget instruction targets.

The Mayor’s Budget Office plans to issue FY23 and FY24 budget instructions to departments on December 15 that will identify specific timeframes and budget approaches the Mayor will be seeking from all departments. With a budget submission deadline potentially on or around February 22, 2022, we are proposing to hold our public hearing on departmental budget priorities on Friday, January 21, 2022. Consistent with past practice, the second required public hearing on our planned budget submission would be held at the Regular February Commission meeting, which would take place on February 11, 2022.

Hiring and Staffing News

Our priority FY22 Hiring Plan work is continuing. Applications for the Director of Enforcement (0922 Manager I) position, two Senior Investigator (1823 Senior Administrative Analyst) positions, and the temporary Administrative Services Clerk (1406) role have now moved into the application review phase of the hiring process. In addition, we are working with DHR to finalize the job posting for the Ethics@Work Program Manager (1824 Principal Program Analyst) position. Once that announcement has posted we will then turn our focus to completing postings to invite applications for four remaining recruitments: three Ethics@Work communication and training specialists (1823 Senior Administrative Analysts) and one Program Performance and Reporting Analyst (1823).

Updated information about jobs with the Ethics Commission and how to apply will be posted on the Commission’s jobs page as it becomes available.

Revenues Report

The table below reflects revenues received by the Commission for Fiscal Year 2022 as of December 6, 2021.

Account DescriptionFY21-22 Original BudgetFY21-22 Actuals as of 12/6/2021
Other General Government$2,450$500
Campaign Disclosure Fines$50,000$11,858
Lobby Fines$2,000$1,650
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$800
Economic Interest Fines$1,250$170
Other Ethics Fines$7,500$34,004
Lobbyist Registration Fee$85,000$16,500
Campaign Consultant Registration Fee$7,000$1,850
Total$157,200$67,332

I look forward to answering any questions you may have at the upcoming Commission meeting.

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