New Local Behested Payments Rules Now in Effect

On November 6, 2022, changes to the City’s behested payments laws took effect. Behested payments rules exist to help avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest or undue influence in City decision making. The Ethics Commission supported amending the law with the goal to balance the interests of improved clarity and workability while also retaining core behested payments prohibitions. Following stakeholder feedback and a public legislative process, amendments to the City’s laws were adopted in late September.

The Ethics Commission has developed summaries of these changes so City employees and officers can familiarize themselves with them. The changes are detailed on the Commission’s website and are also summarized in an new Ethics Commission overview document on behested payments.

In short, the City’s new behested payment law :

  • prohibits the direct or indirect solicitation of behested payments from sources defined as “interested parties” by elected officials, department heads, members of boards and commissions, and designated employees that file Statements of Economic Interests (Form 700s);
  • narrows the scope of “interested party” and “attempt to influence;”
  • shortens the length of time a contractor is an interested party;
  • expands the definition of interested party to include lobbyist clients and affiliates of clients;
  • creates new exceptions to behested payment rules.

These recently enacted changes also require the Ethics Commission to issue implementing regulations to define and illustrate key aspects of how the City’s behested payments rules function. The Commission will be considering draft regulations at its monthly public meetings and new regulations may go into effect in early 2023.

We encourage City employees and officers who have questions about how these laws may apply to contact the Ethics Commission for advice. We can be reached via email or phone (415-252-3100) and will be happy to assist.

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