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tv   Ethics Commission  SFGTV  July 16, 2021 12:00am-1:14am PDT

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will be participating in today's meeting remotely. this precaution is taken pursuant to local, state and federal orders. commission members will attend through video conference and participate to the same extent as if they were physically present. please note today's meeting is live on sfgov tv and stream lined online live as well. once again streamed live at public comment is available on each item of the agenda. each member of the public is allowed three minutes to speak. opportunities are via phone call calling 415-655-0001.
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again the phone number is 415-655-0001. access 146 693 8503. again, 146 693 8503 mute the television, radio or computer and especially important if you are watching
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the web link to prevent an echo when you speak. when the system says your line is unmuted, it is your time to speak. you will hear staff say "welcome caller." when you start speaking you'll have three minutes to provide public comment, six minutes online with an interpreter. you'll hear a bell when you have 30 seconds remaining. if you change your mind and want to withdraw yourself from the public comment line, press star 3 again. you will hear the system say you have lowered your hand. once three minutes is expired, staff will thank you and mute you. you will hear "your line has been muted." attendees who wish to speak during other public comment opportunities should stay online and enter their hands by pressing star 3 when the next item of interest comes up. public comment may be submitted in writing as well and will be shared with the commission after the meeting was concluded and be included as part of the official
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meeting file. written comments sent to thank you madam chair. >> chair ambrose: thank you. can you call the roll please? >> clerk: commissioner bell? >> commissioner bell: here. >> clerk: commissioner bush.
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>> commissioner bush: present. >> clerk: commissioner chiu. >> commissioner chiu: present. >> clerk: you have a quorum. >> chair ambrose: we're going to call public comment on matters appearing or not appearing on the agenda. members of the public who wish to speak, dial star 3 if you have not done so to be added to the public comment line. please proceed with public comment. >> clerk: agenda item number 2, each member of the public has up to three minutes to provide public comment. if you joined earlier to listen to the proceedings now is the time to get on to the line to speak. if you haven't done so, press star 3. it is important that you press star 3 only once to enter the
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queue. once you are in the queue and standing by, the system will prompt you when it is your turn to speak. it is important to call from a quiet location. address your comment to the commission as a whole. madam chair, we are checking for callers. we have a caller in the queue. please stand by. your three minutes starts now. >> good morning commissioners. my name is ellen zhou. i am a public social worker.
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i am a union delegate for government employees and member to remind all of you in san francisco to return to god. i have been coming to you ethics commission many, many times starting from 2016 and the last i spoke to you virtually over the phone was march 12th 2021. 2022, you all know san francisco, one party politicians authorize 5,000 a month for anyone come to san francisco sleeping inside a tent. people who have disability spend
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$17,000 a month and for average homeless person, that is $8,000 a month. we, the city because of the lawless politicians, they spent 12.3 billion a year for a sink hole city, san francisco. you all remember 2020 we had more than 700 people die and pass away on the streets. right now we have 20% housing units available but lawless evil politicians talking about building affordable housing when we have 75,000 empty units available. san francisco politicians to murder our unborn babies by using our public money. they support illegal drugs by
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continuing advocating to open illegal injection sites. they support drug dealers. i am here today to request ethic commission, you, all of you, to review the situation with the failed city with about 18 elected officials to return law and order to protect us, the people who pay taxes. who pay the price to live in a city, san francisco, we do not -- >> clerk: your three minutes have expired. >> thank you. >> chair ambrose: thank you caller. any further commenters in the
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queue? >> clerk: please stand by. no further callers in the queue. >> chair ambrose: thank you. public comment is closed on item 2. i'm going to call item 3, the consent calendar, draft minutes to june 11th, 2021, regular meeting. does any member of the public intend to offer -- i think there's another -- sorry. there are two items on consent, right? the draft minutes and one of the stipulations. >> clerk: correct. >> chair ambrose: we can call them together if they're both on
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consent. okay. so i'm going to call the consent calendar items 3 and 4 together with one roll call vote unless someone wants to take either the draft minutes or stipulation on yes on prop c versus universal childcare in san francisco and move it to regular calendar. seeing no request to do so, both of those items are being called together. is there any public comment on the consent calendar if you could please check mr. moderator. >> clerk: thank you. the ethics commission is receiving public comment on consent items 3 and 4 only in this meeting. each member of the public has up to three minutes to provide public comment. you will hear a bell when you
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have 30 seconds remaining. if you have not done so, press star 3. it is important you press star 3 only once to enter the queue. pressing it again will move you back into listening mode. if you haven't done so, press star 3 to be added to the queue. for those on hold, continue to wait until the system indicates you have been unmuted. we have a caller in the queue. your three minutes begins now. >> thank you again ethics commissioners. i spoke in item 2 for a lawless
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city officials that is running city hall. only 18 elected officials. you the ethics commission had a duty to protect government. i am so sad to see you who volunteer your time, some of them you get paid. only one me in the line for public comment. i remember when you open at city hall in person, you had more people go in and listen. but now you're running an ethics commission public hearings all by yourselves. that means the general public is not informed with anything you
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talk about. i believe in my honest opinion. please do outreach to the people that you impact in the items you talk about, childcare, universal childcare, who are the beneficiaries? did you do outreach to parents? did you do any outreach to all who are planning to have families. you all know the entire unified schools is failing because we're not open.
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there's no public comments. my name is ellen. i live in san francisco, i live in district number 9. i have seen a failing ethics commission fail to enforce law and order. at least i know that you today, there's only one me in here for public hearing. i don't know if you have public hearings, anyone spoke to you at all from the public the last 15 months other than march because i was here march 12, 2021. please reach out to people on the items that matter to san francisco. not just talk about amongst
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yourself -- >> clerk: the three minutes have expired. >> thank you. god bless you. >> chair ambrose: thank you. any further callers in the queue? >> clerk: please stand by. no additional callers in the queue madam chair. >> chair ambrose: can i have a motion to approve items 3 and 4? commissioner bell moved. if you would call the roll on 3 and 4 on the consent calendar mr. moderator. >> clerk: a motion has been made and seconded to items 3 and 4. i will call the roll. (roll call)
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the motion is approved. >> chair ambrose: thank you very much. i'm going to call item 5 on the regular calendar. this is proposed streamline stipulation decision and order in the matter of cammy blackstone complaint number 1920-010 and i'm going to ask jeff pierce to speak to this matter and while we're waiting for jeff, if any member of the public wants to enter public comment, they should enter in now. commissioners, if you have questions or comments for jeff that you want to discuss about this, please raise your hand.
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>> thank you chair ambrose. i'll hand it over to senior investigator eric willett who administers the streamline program. >> chair ambrose: thank you. >> good morning chair ambrose and commissioners. i can field any questions you have about this. i see commissioner bush's hand up. go ahead. >> commissioner bush: thank you. i want to just by way of background, are these the first cases we've had involving lobbyists? >> yes, commissioner bush. these are the first provisions of law under the lobbyist ordinance we put forward to you. you are correct. >> commissioner bush: in this particular case, did the
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lobbyist initially disclose there were no contacts? >> in this matter, no. ms. blackstone has reported all contacts but failed to include the payment she received from her employer which is in this matter, she's an employee of at&t and we contacted her to amend the filings and reflect a portion of her salary to cover the time it took to make those contacts. >> commissioner bush: so it did include who the contacts were? >> yes, that's correct. >> commissioner bush: does that account for the fact that the stipulation is at the level it is? >> can you expand upon that
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commissioner bush? >> commissioner bush: the fact that those elements were disclose account for a lower stipulated penalty than it might have been otherwise? >> i see, so ms. blackstone took the corrected action to file the amendments and return the signed stipulated agreement within the first 30 days span, which reflects a tier 1 penalty calculation, in this matter, $500 plus 15% of all payments received. so it is an amount of $1112.
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>> if i can offer a clarification. as described, this is not a shadow lobbying case. there was no instance of lobbying we could tell that went undisclosed. we saw it essentially as a paperwork case that the streamline program was designed to handle in this accelerated matter. there were no aggravating considerations here. and all of the calculations were within the thresholds and guidelines that the streamline program asserts. to your question about whether it would have been a different stipulation under different facts, certainly. and staff could have looked at this differently if there were different facts or aggravating factors. >> commissioner bush: thank you. that clarifies things for me on
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this case. >> chair ambrose: thank you. any other comments? if not, i'm going to call for public comment. mr. moderator, can you please call for public comment? >> clerk: we are checking to see if there are callers in the queue. please continue to wait until the system indicating you have been unmuted. we are on public comment of item 5 in the matter of cammy blackstone. press star 3 to be added to the public comment queue. please stand by.
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we have no callers in the queue. >> chair ambrose: public comment is closed on item 5. thank you commissioner bush for bringing out some of the background on the case. i appreciate it. i would like a motion to approve the stipulated settlement if there is one. commissioner chiu has moved. is there a second? thank you commissioner bush. can you please call the roll. >> clerk: (roll call)
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the the motion is approved. >> chair ambrose: agenda item 6, another proposed streamline taken off the consent calendar, decision and order in the matter of jennifer stojkovic complaint 1920-011. i'm going to turn to mr. pierce again to lead us into the discussion. >> thank you chair ambrose. and i'll give it back to senior investigator eric willett. >> this case is very similar to the previous matter resolved in item 5.
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the only difference here is that jennifer stojkovic upon reviewing her record noticed she failed to report one contact. in addition to amending her previously reported contacts, to reflect the payments received, there was one month she had added a contact not previously reported in addition to the payments not previously reported. >> chair ambrose: so i'm going to start. i guess maybe i didn't read it closely enough. my impression was there were multiple years when the contacts were not disclosed. is that -- did i read that wrong? >> on the language of the
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stipulation, it says and or the payments she received from her employer. maybe there's details lacking there for how many months it was amended to reflect the payments received and how many included payments received and additional contact. the background on this one was one month there was additional contact not previously reported that was amended to reflect -- >> chair ambrose: how did that information about the missing contact come to light? >> it came through self disclosure when she was reviewing records to amend them to reflect the payments received, she noticed she had an additional contact and went ahead on her own and filed that amendment. >> chair ambrose: thank you for that. all right. commissioner bush.
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your hand is up. i didn't know if you have comments on this or from the last time. you're muted. >> commissioner bush: thank you. as i read the stipulation, there were many months beginning i think in 2017 in which her reports were going to have to be amended. what were the amendments? >> the amendments were primarily to reflect payments she received from her employer. this is again similar to the previous matter, that is jennifer stojkovic is employed by city and had to amend to reflect the portion of her salary spent on making those contacts. so sarp has specific eligibility
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requirements for inclusion in the program and because it was only a portion of salaries, they were still under the sarp provisions eligibility standards. she also took the action in the first 30 days and her penalty is $500 plus 15% of previously unreported payments. that is $431 in this matter. >> commissioner bush: for each of the months, did she disclose with whom she had contacts? >> yes, with whom and the matter she was attempting to influence.
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>> commissioner bush: that didn't come through clearly in the stipulation. i would urge that in the future stipulations clarify what was and was not disclosed to the public as part of this process. i understand from looking at the web page, it is a nonprofit. is that correct? >> i believe so. >> commissioner bush: why is the nonprofit making disclosures as though it was a lobbyist? we exempt them from lobbyist disclosures. >> we do for certain types of fee. fee organizations and i believe
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the city is a different type of fee organization that is not exempted from the reporting requirements under the lobbyist ordinance. >> commissioner bush: and on their web page it shows they provide to the public and to their members a list of recommendations including recommendations of endorsements and voting for members of the board of supervisors. it is my understanding that nonprofits are not permitted to endorse candidates for office. isn't that correct? >> if they're doing it through the different fee organization types, i think that's a way around prohibition. >> i might add quickly commissioner bush, if there are -- if a nonprofit in the city is engaged in conduct that might jeopardize their tax exempt
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status, it would be beyond the scope of the commission's jurisdiction. >> chair ambrose: it's an important thing to know about. and it's important to know -- i didn't realize there was a differences between 501-c-3 that could engage in political conduct but i assume that's the basis of the different treatment under the lobbyist ordinance. is that -- a fair assumption? >> that's correct and -- >> if i may weigh in a bit. i'm not really a nonprofit expert, so maybe i'm entering into unknown ground but there's an exception for contacts made by c-3 or c-4 nonprofit organization. 501-c-3s can weigh in on ballot
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measures but not endorse candidates. i'm not that familiar with the organization, city is a c-6. something like the chamber of commerce would be a c-6. they treat different classifications in different levels of political activity. >> commissioner bush: from looking at guide star, it does include them as nonprofit as a c-3. and it includes their filing with the form 990, done by 501-c-3s. and that lends to the question of if that's the kind of organization they are, why on their web page do they promote people to support or oppose
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certain candidates running for the board of supervisors. >> and certainly, perhaps we're getting far from the settlement, if there's concern about what they are allowed to do under the tax credit, but as jeff missioned, outside the commission's jurisdiction. the irs would enforce such matters. >> commissioner bush: or the state tax agency as well, right? >> it's possible. i suppose you could reach out to the franchise tax board. >> chair ambrose: i do think -- i appreciate staff's work on
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stipulated settlements, we are getting off of the agenda. i'm going to move us back to mr. moderator, can you ask if there's public comment on this particular item? >> clerk: we are checking to see if there are callers in the queue. those on hold, continue to wait until the system indicates you have been unmuted. we are currently on the public discussion on the motion of agenda item 6. in the matter of jennifer stojkovic complaint number 1920-011. if you have not done so, press star 3 to be added to the queue. you will have three minutes to provide comment. you will hear a bell with 30 seconds remaining.
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>> while the moderator is looking for public comment, to commissioner bush's question about if nonprofits have to disclose contacts, it is our understanding that there is an -- c 3s and c 4s but only those who filed a 990-n or 990-ev. it is our understanding reviewing the filings those are available only to nonprofits below a certain revenue stream or operating budget but those who exceed file a 990 do not
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qualify for the exemption in the definition of context. >> chair ambrose: thank you for that. i always appreciate learning something new. it is good to know as we probably hopefully see more of these. welcome commissioner lee to the meeting. i wish you were sitting on the lovely beach somewhere. i have to learn how to use the backdrops some day. back to the moderator. >> clerk: we have callers in the queue. >> chair ambrose: thank you. >> clerk: welcome caller. >> hi there. i wanted to point out that this type of behavior is the whole reason for the creation of the ethics commission. i really commend the board for taking the action but i want to know there are specific penalties for misreporting
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including a $50 a day fee for each instance of not correcting the report. that would make the fine well into the six figures. this penalty seems very short of true justice. thank you so much and for doing what you do. it is so important to continuation of running the city. thanks. >> clerk: thank you caller. we have another caller in the queue. welcome caller. your three minutes begins now. >> good morning commissioners. greetings to those of you i haven't seen for a while. and my greeting to the new
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commissioner who i have never met. i just wanted to speak on this matter just briefly to raise the question of whether it is right in the sense that with so many months and years of non disclosure, whether it would not be advise for them to make the recommendation on the stipulation before it comes before the commission. i think the public should see what is going oven and better transparency would be afforded if you required the filings to occur before the item is taken up by the commission. i think that's the case really for any lobbyist.
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i don't know your current rules but if that's not the rule, it could be changed to be that way in my view or at least examined and detailed. that's all i wanted to say. again, good to see you all and i'm glad you survived the epidemic and i hope all of those you are close to and your friends also survived well. >> chair ambrose: on the point you raised, i want to take a minute to hear from staff. i noticed that as well. i understand that we want to acknowledge and reward behavior where compliance is within a certain time period and they signed the stipulation and we
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can complete the enforcement action, but the question that he raised -- so if they sign and file the disclosure the missing piece, my impression is, we do get that before the commission meeting, right? that was set for june 30th or something like that? so we do have the completed packet. but it seemed like there were options where we could have an action on this but then they would pay more money to not give us the information until after the meeting. is that -- aren't there like three tiers if you don't pay until the end of july, then you owe more money but then we would
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not have seen the information before acting on it. >> we wouldn't present a stipulated agreement to the commissioners without having verified the corrected action was taken. some of it is part of the calculation for the penalty amount. >> chair ambrose: so you have the information and it is an available to the public, okay, all right. >> yeah. and the different dates provided are if it takes longer than 30 days to take the corrective action, then it increases the penalty amount.
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when it gets to your desk, action has been taken. >> chair ambrose: okay. all right. and i'm also going to assume that on the rightness issue, that there weren't actually undisclosed reports that we haven't seen. that it was just in that instance, it was the payment, the percentage of her salary, a payment but all of the contacts but one she later identified and came forward with were known. >> yes, that's correct.
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>> chair ambrose: and the final point that the other commenter made, the $50 fee to not correct the report, yes, of course that would be a lot of money, but i think at least in my view and this instance, if it were to happen again with either of these individuals now that they have been put to notice that they must disclose a percentage of their salary then i would definitely want to look at the additional penalty. are there further commenters in the queue? >> clerk: yes, please stand by.
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>> i don't have a horse in the race at all but i noticed people were talking about about exemptions for nonprofits. my understanding of the law and i just pulled it up, this comes up from time to time, any 501-c-3, a charity employee is exempted from the lobbying laws period, regardless of the tax filings they make with the irs and for c-4, social welfare organizations, their employees are exempted if the organizations themselves are quite small and file 990-ns ore z's meaning they have raised $200,000 or less in a year or have $500,000 in assets on the books at the time of the filing and tax returns, which are
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generally very small c-4s that fit into that category. any c-4 larger than that, they have to file 990s with the irs, standard tax filings and they do have to comply with the lobbying laws. any other type of c organizations, they have to comply regardless of size. that's my $0.02. thank you for your service. >> chair ambrose: thank you and thank you for the information. are there further commenters in the queue?
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>> clerk: thank you. madam chair, no further callers in the queue. >> chair ambrose: thank you. with that, public comment is closed. i do see commissioner chiu i think you had your hand up -- >> commissioner chiu: with regard to the $50 a day. i take from that, it's at the discretion? my clarifying question would be under the new framework that the commission has adopted for the streamline processing of these matters, is the $50 per day fine or penalty, is that at the discretion of the commission? >> yes. so we do include modifiers in addition to the percentage of previously unreported payments received. we also add $500 if they resolve within the first 30 days and that increases as well as the percentage taken for the length
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of time that it takes for corrective action to be taken and the stipulated agreement to be signed off on. and the ordinance does still allow for discretion application of the $50. we try to reflect percentage and dollar amount in addition to the percentage amounts. in an effort to demonstrate the severity of -- >> chair ambrose: application of these factors can send a strong deterrent message that if you fail to file and there's a pattern in practice or huge number of incomplete or missing milings, there are consequences from that.
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commissioner bush, your hand is up. >> commissioner bush: i want to make sure i understand, 501-c-3 regardless of size do not have to file as lobbyists? >> chair ambrose: i was thinking on that point, given it is highly technical and legal area of law, that we just give the staff some time to pin that down and just provide us with a response at the next meeting because we might be contributing to confusion and misinformation and i think it would be useful to know exactly who our lobbyist law applies to.
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and he mentioned that any employee is exempt, which if they hire their lobbyists as employees, that's a whole other curiosity. with that, i really -- it's not on the agenda, i'm going to have staff get back to us with some clarity. >> commissioner bush: i recommend we push this over to the next meeting and not vote on it now. until this is resolved. it's a significant issue. >> chair ambrose: okay. i don't know that i see it ties to this particular stipulated settlement since this individual did file. but if that's your motion to continue this item, is there a
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second? >> i'll second. >> chair ambrose, i apologize for interrupting, before you seek a vote on the motion, i want to clarify, as far as i can tell, sf is not a c-3, it's a c-6. >> commissioner bush: they file a form 990 and as a 501-c-3. if you go to guide star, you find it there. >> not as a c-6? >> commissioner bush: right. >> chair ambrose: can you please call the roll on the motion? >> clerk: a motion has been made
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and seconded. i will call the roll. (roll call) >> chair ambrose: this is to move the item to next month's calendar. (roll call) four votes in the affirmative and one opposed, the motion is approved. >> chair ambrose: with that, just to make sure when you put it on the calendar, if we could have not all the federal regulations under the irs code but a quick summary of the different categories of nonprofits and which of those
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are subject to our lobbying rules, that would be helpful. with that, i'm going to call agenda item 7. looking at the time, go ahead. discussion of possible action on statement of incompatible activities, so-called sia for the department of homelessness and supportive housing, shs. we're going to hear from pat ford about the sia. and mr. ford, when you start, if you can just -- we haven't seen action by the ethics commission adopting an sia since most -- we haven't had new departments in my tenure here, can you quickly explain what the role of the ethics commission is in reviewing and approving statement. >> definitely. thank you chair ambrose.
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good morning commissioners. pat ford, senior policy and legislative affairs council. sia is statement of incompatible activities. a statement that each city department must adopt that sets out certain activities incompatible with duties of officials and employees within the department. as chair ambrose mentioned, when a new department is created, it must adopt a new statement of incompatible activities. and each time a new statement is created or existing statement is amended, approval of the ethics commission is required. additionally, the city must meet and confer with affected employee bargaining units and that has to happen before the commission votes to approve or amend sia. the department of homelessness and supportive housing was created in 2016.
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this would be a new sia for that department. the department has worked with department of human resources to meet and confer with a number of employee unions. the unions were first notified on april 8th of the new sia and provided a draft of it and on may 5th meeting was held to talk about the sia with the unions and then on june 23rd, meet and confer process was closed out. so at this point, now the next step in the process is for the ethics commission to look at the sia and to vote to approve or not approve it. if it's approved at this point, the sia becomes operative and they can distribute to officers and employees. as you saw in the memo, this sia
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essentially mirrors the exact same language in most other departments sia's. there are a few provisions that are unique or different for this particular department. i just called those out on the second page, there are three of them. one says that no employee or officer within the department can be a registered lobbyist. there's also language that clarifies that employees can engage in volunteer activities for nonprofits and that doesn't contradict the rule for participating in activities subject to review by the department. and then lastly, it says no employee or officer can serve as a member of the board of directors of a nonprofit that applies for funding, including grants or contracts that are
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administered by the department. those are the provisions unique to this one. otherwise, it mirrors language in the other sia's. staff is recommending the commission approve this sia. and also melanie from the department is here and can provide comments she would like and answer questions you might have. i'll turn it over to melanie. >> chair ambrose: thank you. and welcome. i have a quick question. did i read in here that the employees of this new department are all subject to the form 700 level 3 reporting and if so, why is that? doesn't this department have a fairly substantial budget and
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numerous contracts engagement. why would they be level 3 reporters? that's to you, pat? >> i need a second to look at the code to see what theirs are. >> chair ambrose: i think it was in the memo. i swear i didn't make it up. i'm pretty sure i read it somewhere. in any event, maybe melanie, you can explain, what is the department for the department of homeless for a year. >> good morning. i'm actually going to -- if emily is on, i don't have the number memorized. i think it's around 600 million
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for this fiscal year but emily cowen is our deputy director of external affairs. i do want to state that not all of our employees are submitting form 700s. >> chair ambrose: we wouldn't expect all of them to submit, but the ones making decisions about the 600 million, i would have expected them to be at least a level 2 form 700 filer. >> chair ambrose, i looked that up. so, the executive director, deputy directors and finance and performance manager all disclose at category 1. the contracts manager, information technology director, personnel manager and homeless and supportive housing managers are category 2 to provide
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supplies, materials, machinery to the department. >> chair ambrose: thank you. that makes me not worry about that then. thank you. commissioner chiu you had your hand up. >> commissioner chiu: i had a question for mr. ford. the provisions you highlighted, given the kind of ongoing and ever widening corruption scandal out of dpw, does this statement of incompatible activities capture those activities we think should be restricted or otherwise addressed in sia of this nature?
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>> my approach in looking at this sia and any sia is to see if it's in line with other sia's. i think any new policies the commission would want to pursue, the sia is not the ideal vehicle for that. the ideal for new policies is to put it in the code or regulation so it applies uniformly across the board to all departments. unfortunately this is a shortcoming of the model itself. we have as many sia's as
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department and changing one doesn't change of all the other departments. as far as new rules needed in light of what we have learned over the last 18 or so months, i think the code is really where i'm fixated. >> in an ideal world we would have rules and legislation applied equally across the
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board. but given the allegations that have come out of the corruption scandal, there's an opportunity to address those. as i recall from some of the reports that came out, there was a statement incompatible activities and didn't touch on anything, now that we know about it, why wouldn't we apply these learnings in order to deter behavior that could lead to problems down the road? i fully appreciate that becomes a patchwork and in the absence of policy standpoint, there's legislation and rule making is obviously the most far reaching way to address it. but the moment we are in right now. i'm not suggesting that we have to go back at this point, but i
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want to make the point, how do we as an ethics commission, the house is burning down and while it would be great to have a full slate of fire trucks but if we have a garden hose to apply to the fire, shouldn't we use that as well. >> i don't think i'm going too far off the agenda to say reviewing sia's is part of the larger ongoing conflict of interest project that will be a later phase of the project. right now we're looking at gift rules, that's the second phase and in the third phase, we'll look at a number of things and sia's are one of them, is there
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a way to drive policy that overcomes that kind of patchwork issue you mentioned. so that's on the radar. not as part of this agenda temper say, but part of the larger policy project we're working on. >> commissioner chiu: right. i think there's -- it can be both and. it doesn't have to be mutually exclusive and i think there is an opportunity to have different sia's addressing different issues because the risks are different for different departments. those that do a lot with public contracting would have different exposures and opportunities for incompatible activity versus a
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different type of organizations like the ethics commission where we don't have public contracting and don't deal a lot with these revenues. so i think it's -- more to discuss as we go forward. but, just wanted to make that point. thank you. >> chair ambrose: thank you. i'm going to have the moderator call for public comment on this item. if you want to make the announcement about public comment. >> clerk: we are checking for callers in the queue. for those on hold, wait until the system indicates you have been unmuted. we're on public discussion of agenda item 7.
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we have no callers in the queue. >> chair ambrose: thank you. i saw your hand up commissioner bush. i wanted to find out if we had a number of public speakers on this. you had a comment, please. >> commissioner bush: two comments. first i associate myself with commissioner chiu's observations
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that we don't want to be the enemy of the good and changing this would be good. i don't think we need to wait for the perfect. more specifically, when you get into the provisions, under activities subject to review by the department and under a, it refers to assistance and responding to city bids and so forth. no officer may provide selective assistance that is not generally available in the matter that confers a bidder or proposer, blah, blah, blah. but then it provides an exception. the exception is, when it's for a charitable organization.
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if a city official or employee of this department is assisting a charitable organization in the fundraising opportunities. the definition is very broad and i think too broad for what we have in mind. for example when the mayor established the committee to have 100th anniversary of celebration of city hall, that was a charitable organization. in other cities like los angeles, what they have done is to narrow the definition from charitable organization to charitable organization providing services. so you are not cutting out the ability to assist organizations
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that are helping low income people who are in need of assistance but no longer providing city staff or officials to assist an elected official with their particular issues. i would suggest that we take a deeper look at how we define charitable organizationses in this and all other cases. >> if i could chair ambrose. i want to make sure i understand what you're looking at commissioner bush. this is on page 4 of the sia talking about activities subject to review by the department, specifically assistance in responding to city bids, rfp's. you're looking at the bolded
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language, is that right? no officer or employee may provide assistance to individuals or entities, including nonprofit charitable organizations. is that the language? >> commissioner bush: that's right. >> that's not an exception. >> commissioner bush: the issue is not just city contracts. you have charitable organizations seeking to influence the decision of who will be hired, who will be named to a commission. so they lobby the mayor over who will be the commissioners. or they lobby the department head as to who is going to be the enforcement actor. or they lobby over the policy of how it's going to be
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interpreted. there's nothing new about all this. this is the way the world works in this city. >> chair ambrose: i need to bring this back to this particular department. i hear what you're saying about -- but specific -- the point you made, you thought there was an exception for an employee of the department of homelessness to be able to provide selective support to a charitable organization and i think i heard mr. ford say no, that's not how that reads. is that -- correct? >> that's correct. yes. this language actually is just clarifying that there's no exception. that even if you volunteer for a nonprofit, you still can't provide them with selective assistance. >> chair ambrose: which makes
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sense to me. okay. >> commissioner bush: that's only assistance in cases of contracts. it's not assistance in lobbying for policy changes or appointments. if you have been around city hall, you know that's where -- >> chair ambrose: but we're talking about city employees, how to conduct themselves as city employees. the problem you are raising, which i hear you, has to do with the activities of charitable organizations engaged in city activities. but this sia is about -- the thing i'm concerned about is that right now we have a department of homelessness with a $600 million budget and ramping up and they don't have a statement of incompatible activities. bringing it back and we have a lot more items on the agenda today. so bringing it back to the
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matter at hand, i agree with everything you all have been saying about how we need to better integrate the good government conduct code and regulations and sia's since it is the thing that everybody in the department gets a copy of every year. but that's not what we're doing right now. right now we're trying to provide the department of homeless and supportive housing with the guidance that is just the sort of fundamentals. to that end, i want to ask for a motion to move this sia and again, we can take up this larger issue as mr. ford was saying as part of the policy priority program. so thank you very much
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commissioner lee. sorry. we might have to take a snack break. i can see my blood sugar is dropping. do i have a second to approve this sia? commissioner chiu. mr. moderator can you call the roll on the agenda item 7? >> clerk: (roll call) four votes in the affirmative and one opposed, the motion is approved.
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>> chair ambrose: okay. with that, i'm going to -- it's 10:45. we could try to press forward with agenda item 8, but i think what i'm going to do, can we take a five minute break? would that be okay with everyone? and then come back and do -- we have the annual report and discussion of the performance audit on our return agenda. so five minutes. i'll see you back here at 10:50. thank you.