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Minutes – June 9, 2023


Minutes of the Regular Meeting of
The San Francisco Ethics Commission
Friday, June 9, 2023

Hybrid meeting conducted in-person in City Hall Room 400, 1 Dr. Carlton B.Goodlett Place, San Francisco, and also held online as a Remote Meeting via WebEx and aired live on SFGovTV

(Approved July 14, 2023)

Note: SFGovTV provides a continuous archive of audio, video, and Caption Notes recordings of Ethics Commission meetings that allows viewers to watch those meetings online in full at the viewer’s convenience. These archives of Ethics Commission meetings may be accessed at SFGovTVat

(Note: A complete recording of this meeting can be found on SFGovTv.)

COMMISSION MEMBERS PRESENT: With Chair Yvonne Lee, Commissioner Theis Finlev, Commissioner Argemira Flórez Feng, and Commissioner Yaman Salahi participating, a quorum was present.

STAFF PRESENTING: Peter Lauterborn, Manager, Ethics@Work Program; Ronald Contreraz, Online Meeting Moderator; Gayathri Thaikkendiyil, Acting Executive Director



Item 1. Call to order and roll call.

Chair Lee convened the meeting at 10:05am and stated that members of the public may participate in-person or remotely. Meeting Moderator Ronald Contreraz summarized the procedures for participation by members of the public for the meeting.

Commissioner Salahi introduced himself. Chair Lee announced Commissioner Romano’s resignation and Commissioner Bush’s term completion.

Chair Lee stated Item 8 would not be heard at the current meeting and Item 9 would be continued to the next meeting.

Item 2. Public comment on matters not appearing on the agenda.

Under Item 2, the Commission provided the opportunity for general public comment on matters not appearing on the Agenda but within the Ethics Commission’s subject matter jurisdiction.  

Public Comment:

David Pilpel spoke to the agendas needing to include settlements and stipulations for enforcement cases, a summary of terms for settlements and stipulations, and staff recommendations for the public to view.

No further public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed.

Consent Calendar Items 3, 4, 5, and 6.

The Commission took up its consent calendar on Item 3, Draft Minutes of the Ethics Commission May 5, 2023 Regular Meeting, Item 4, Draft Minutes of the Ethics Commission May 19, 2023 Special Meeting, Item 5, Acting Executive Director’s Report highlighting various departmental programs, operations, and staff news, and Item 6, Director of Enforcement’s Report highlighting Enforcement Division Operations.

Commissioner Salahi requested that Item 7 be moved to the regular calendar.

Commissioner Finlev asked if he could make general comments on consent calendar items. Deputy City Attorney Brad Russi stated that these items would need to be severed in order to talk about them.

Commissioner Finlev moved to adopt Item 3 and Item 4 from the Consent Calendar (it is unknown who second the motion due to technical difficulties), the motion was approved unanimously (4-0). Item 5 and Item 6 were informational and required no action by the Commission.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel called to ask if he should make comment on Item 5 now or later. Russi stated that they could give comment on Item 5 now. Pilpel stated that the Chair’s statement on Commission budget effectively summarized the budget concerns for the Commission as staff will have a difficult time completing mandatory tasks given proposed budget cuts.

No other public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed.

Motion 230609-01 (Finlev / n/a): Moved, seconded, and approved unanimously (4-0) to adopt Item 3 and Item 4 as presented on the consent calendar.

Item 7. Proposed Stipulation, Decision and Order In the Matter of Progress San Francisco, Vince Courtney, Jr., and Shawnda Deane.

Commissioner Salahi asked if the committee was active in 2016. Director Ford stated that there were not any violations found prior to the case at hand.

Commissioner Salahi asked if there was an explanation for the multiple reclassifications in this case. Ford stated that the reclassifications of the committee were intentional by the committee itself.

Commissioner Finlev agreed that the information should have been disclosed in the correct place and agreed with the staff recommended stipulations. Ford stated that staff recommendations were based on a similar case.

Chair Lee asked how members of the public would know that the reports were amended. Ford stated that respondents did not need to go back and amend the reports and that it is on the record that the respondents did not need to go back and file the Form 497.

Commissioner Finlev stated that the issue of intent is important and probed by Commission staff. Ford agreed and confirmed that intent is investigated.

Chair Lee confirmed that this is the first offense for the respondents and that the number of offenses is taken into consideration in enforcement matters. Ford confirmed that this is true.

Commissioner Salahi asked if there was a database for the public to review enforcement cases. Ford confirmed that the public needs to visit the Commission website to find that information. Commissioner Finlev confirmed that Ethics Commission decisions are easy to find on the Commission website.

Commissioner Flórez Feng thanked Ford for breaking all details down and for being thorough.

Commissioner Finlev thanked Ford for flagging that this is an audit case.

Public Comment:

No public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed.

Motion 230609-02 (Salahi / Lee): Moved, seconded, and approved unanimously (4-0).

Item 8. Discussion and possible action regarding request for waiver of post-employment restrictions for Britt Strottman.

This item was not called during the meeting, due to the waiver request being withdrawn.

Item 9. Discussion and possible action regarding request for waiver of post-employment restrictions for Joanne Lee.

This item was continued to a future meeting.

Item 10. Presentation and discussion of the Ethics@Work Program implementation.

Peter Lauterborn introduced division staff and overviewed the division’s work. Lauterborn introduced the division’s purpose and the content that staff have been creating, including subject matter.

Lauterborn spoke about departmental outreach to create educational plans and future work for the division.

Commissioner Finlev asked if the list on the screen was in order of largest department to smallest, Lauterborn confirmed that this was true.

Commissioner Finlev asked what the process was for making a training mandatory for City employees. Lauterborn confirmed that aside from mandatory Ethics training, the departments are responsible for making specific trainings mandatory for their employees.

Commissioner Finlev asked if there were any identifiable patterns, Lauterborn confirmed that the division is keeping track and will report out.

Commissioner Finlev asked how non-City employees can access this information. Lauterborn stated that these training are primarily for internal City staff, but the general public has access via social media, YouTube videos, etc.

Chair Lee stated that an annual scorecard of those who have participated in trainings would be helpful.

Chair Lee asked about priority for reaching out to departments. Lauterborn stated that outreach is organized by size of department to reach the most staff. Chair Lee expressed surprise to see Public Works in group 2 instead of group 1. Lauterborn explained that the time difference between contacting group 1 and group 2 was just a couple of weeks.

Chair Lee stated that the general public needs to be brought up to speed on ethics laws as well as City employees and that they should be included in the division’s work.

Public Comment:

David Pilpel thanked Lauterborn for his public service throughout the years. Pilpel requested that there be a focus on Proposition F in the division’s work. Pilpel suggested that future outreach be conducted on a risk-management basis.

No further public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed.

Lauterborn confirmed that Prop F content could be included in the division’s work. He also confirmed that risk-management was taken into account when determining priority of agency outreach.

Item 11. Discussion and possible action on items for future meetings.

Commissioner Finlev stated that short trainings at public meetings on an investigator’s expertise in enforcement matters should be considered.

Chair Lee stated that the Board of Supervisors is having a budget meeting shortly.

Commissioner Salahi thanked Chair Lee for her statement on the proposed Commission budget. He stated that the proposed budget would be a setback for the Commission and its work. Commissioner Salahi asked about self-funding options for the Commission in the future.

Public Comment:

No public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed.

Item 12. Additional opportunity for public comment on matters not appearing on the agenda pursuant to Ethics Commission Bylaws Article VII Section 2.

Public Comment:

No public comment was received and public comment on the item was closed.

Item 13. Adjournment.

The Commission adjourned at 11:01am.

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