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Acting Executive Director’s Report for December 2023

Date: December 4, 2023

To: Members of the Ethics Commission

From: Gayathri Thaikkendiyil, Acting Executive Director

Subject: Agenda Item 10 – Acting Executive Director’s Report for December 2023

Summary and Action Requested

This report provides various programmatic and operational highlights since the last report.

No action is required by the Commission, as this item is for informational purposes only.

Hiring Updates

I am excited to share the following announcements related to several recruitment efforts that were underway during the last few months.  

The Commission recently completed the process of converting Permanent Exempt (PEX) 1053 Senior IS Analyst position in the Electronic Disclosure & Data Analysis (EDDA) Division to Permanent Civil Service (PSC) position. This was one of the vacancies that were filled as an exempt position during the pandemic as the City’s Civil Service Recruitment processes were on hold during that period. Departments are typically required to convert such positions to PCS through the Civil Service Recruitment process within a three-year timeframe and we completed that process for this role last month. Jarrod Flores was selected for this 1053 Senior IS Analyst PCS position effective Monday, November 6. Jarrod joined the Commission staff in 2006 and worked for over 10 years with our campaign finance program. After that he stepped into 1052 IS Analyst position in EDDA team in January 2017. He was later appointed as an exempt 1053 Senior IS Analyst in January 2021. Since January 2023, Jarrod has been serving as our Acting Director of Technology Services. Jarrod holds a Master of Public Administration degree from San Francisco State University and a Political Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Kevin Kincaid joined our staff as the 1840 Client Support Specialist in the Engagement & Compliance Division on Monday, November 13. He comes with over 17 years of technical customer support experience working on a variety of software products and technology services at companies such as Oracle and Lyris Technologies. His most recent experience was with SmartRecruiters where he worked for 7 years in roles responsible for leading customer support teams and as their product community manager. Kevin holds a BS in Nuclear Engineering from Oregon State University. As the Client Support Specialist, he will provide filer assistance, technical support, compliance guidance, and training for Form 700 and other programs in the Engagement & Compliance team.

Ryan Abusaa joined our office as an 1844 Engagement & Compliance Officer on Monday, November 27. He comes from Sutton Law Firm where he worked as a Senior Political Compliance Specialist for over a year. In that role he prepared disclosure reports for a variety of clients including lobbyists, candidates, ballot measures, PACs, and non-profit organizations involved in the political and legislative process on the local, state, and federal levels. Prior to that he worked as a Political Organizer for SEIU Local 2015, a Business Associate at New Deal Advisers, and an Account Manager at Wilson Public Affairs. Ryan holds a BA in Economics from The University of California, Davis. As the Engagement & Compliance Officer, he will provide compliance guidance, filing assistance, technical support, training, and day-to-day administration for the Campaign Finance program and other programs in the Engagement & Compliance team.

Kyle Kennedy will join our office as the 1824 Engagement & Compliance Manager on Monday, December 11. He comes from the New York City Campaign Finance Board (NYCCFB) where he most recently worked as their Independent Expenditures Analyst for nearly three years. Before that he worked for the same agency as a Candidate Services Liaison for a year and a half. In that role he was the point-of-contact for campaigns regarding compliance related to campaign finance rules and requirements for the Public Matching Funds Program. Other positions he has held prior to his work at NYCCFB are as a Compliance Analyst with the Office of the Nassau County Executive, Regional Field Director for Laura Curran for Nassau County Executive, Community Organizer for the New Virginia Majority Education Fund, and Field Organizer for the Ohio Democratic Party. Kyle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Management from the School for International Training Graduate Institute.

We thank Peter Lauterborn, Ethics@Work Program Manager, for leading the Engagement & Compliance Division since February 2023 during the period when the Division’s manager position was vacant, while also managing the Ethics@Work Division. We are grateful for his leadership and creativity in supporting staff and managing the operations of both teams this year under limited staffing. This month, Peter will transfer the managerial duties of the Engagement & Compliance Division to Kyle Kennedy. Peter will continue to work with the team through collaborative initiatives between Engagement & Compliance and Ethics@Work divisions.

We also thank staff members from the Engagement & Compliance and Ethics@Work Divisions for their contributions, flexibility, and initiative in helping the Commission meet various critical business needs throughout this year under significant staffing constraints. We look forward to filling the remaining two vacancies in the Engagement & Compliance Division so that both teams can operate at full capacity.

Fiscal Year 2023-2024 (FY24) Mid-Year Budget Cut Update

On the November 9 regular meeting agenda, staff had included an update regarding FY24 mid-year target cuts, which were required of City departments by the Mayor’s Office. As that agenda item was continued to the next meeting, the item now appears on the December meeting agenda as Item 7.

On October 11, 2023, the Mayor issued mid-year target cut instructions to City departments directing them to propose 3% cuts to their Fiscal Year 2023-24 approved budget by October 26. Staff engaged in discussions with the Mayor’s Budget Office regarding this requirement and identified target cuts by the deadline. The FY24 mid-year reduction for the Ethics Commission is $210,000 which has been achieved using salary savings already realized in its budget due to staff vacancies. This reduction is not expected to impact ongoing operations planned for this fiscal year.

In the November 9 memo, staff had indicated that the Commission was unable to start recruitment for the remaining two positions in the Engagement & Compliance Division that were vacated in recent months, due to pending approval from the Mayor’s Office. Since last month’s update, the Commission has received approval to initiate recruitment to fill both positions and staff have been working on the necessary steps.

Job Posting

With three vacancies now filled in the Engagement & Compliance Division, staff have initiated recruitment for the other 1844 Engagement & Compliance Officer position, which became vacant on September 30 this year. This position will serve as a public-facing staff person in the Engagement & Compliance Division to provide customer support, compliance guidance, advice, filing assistance, technical support, training and day-to-day administration for the Conflict of Interest program, including Form 700, and other programs under the Commission’s jurisdiction. We welcome candidates with diverse backgrounds who are eager to promote accountability and trust in public service to apply to this position. Information about current job openings can be accessed on the Ethics Commission’s Jobs page.

Revenues Report

The table below reflects revenues received by the Commission for Fiscal Year 2023-24 as of December 2, 2023.

Account DescriptionBudgetActuals
Campaign Consultant Registration Fee$7,000$3,650
Lobbyist Registration Fee$85,000$7,800
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$450
Campaign Disclosure Fines$50,000$3,923
Statement of Economic Interests Fines$1,250$0
Lobbyists Fines$2,000$5,500
Other Ethics Fines$7,500$35,525
Other General Government Charges$2,450$1,000
Total$157,200$57,848

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