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tv   Mayors Press Availability  SFGTV  December 15, 2020 4:35am-5:01am PST

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we've been issuing over the last few months. from an audit perspective, as someone who's been auditing for -- for almost 20 years now, tone at the top is really a conglomeration of all of those facets of internal control. it's a common, you know, element of an organization that can definitely be the root cause of anything that could go wrong, and how we're going to be addressing tone at the top will be in the context of how some of those internal controls that have been identified by the f.b.i., as well as some of the key things that we've identified in our previous reports were able to happen. a lot of it was because of the lock of oversight of certain procedures. a lot of it was was there were certain policies written in our
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admin code that allowed for those loopholes to occur. you'll also be hearing after this item on our whistleblower system, which is a whole set of controls of the system within the city and county of san francisco that is kind of the larger body of things that create the culture within our city government. so we'll definitely be hitting tone at the top. you know, some of the smaller kind of examples that we will definitely be including will be certain training requirements, certain procedures and practices that -- that would help encourage, further encourage a tone that encourages transparency and hopefully not replicate any of what happened at the department of public works as part of the
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investigation. so we'll definitely be a part of -- we'll be including that in our last deliverable, and we'll be providing recommendations that will speak to it. >> wonderful. thank you. >> commissioner bush? >> i think you are -- >> you are muted, commissioner u bush. >> commissioner bush: thank you. point noted. so in the past, the mayor or chief of staff would interview annually, for performance matter, each department head. and in the past, department heads were often named without any training on what the rules are for department heads. would your recommendations take a look for a tone at the top
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building on what commissioner chiu just said, that how do we instill that, and isn't instilling it is part of a process of briefing them on their responsibilities? and secondly, including some guidelines for the performance reviews by the mayor or the mayor's chief of staff? >> that's a very good question, commissioner bush. through the chair, completely agree with you that -- and in answering previous questions performance reviews are how you're holding anyone accountable, whether it be staff heads or the city. it's part of the tone at the
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top as part of the elements of how you build a healthy organizational culture. training is going to be one key aspect of it, and i think the ideal thing is that expectations are clearly laid out in the beginning, and then, once evaluation is basically based on -- on how you've met those expectations and objectives, so it's definitely going to be a part of what that certainly control system would look like in terms of tone at the top. >> commissioner bush: thank you. i have a couple of questions about the whole debarment thing, which i can wait until other questions have been
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asked. >> chair ambrose: any members of the public who might want to comment so the presentation is fresh? so if we do have public commenters in the queue, i'd like to hear from them; and then, if you can remember your questions about the debarment, we'll wrap up with the rest of the commissioners' questions. will that be okay? so actually, braun, if you can call public comment or announce the procedures for making public comment and see if there's anyone wanting to weigh-in on this? >> clerk: thank you, chair ambrose. madam chair, we are checking to see if there are any callers in the queue. for those already on hold, please continue to wait until the system indicates you have been unmuted. if you have just joined this meeting, we are currently on
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the public discussion section on item number 4, discussion and possible actions on presentation by controller's office on controller's november 5, 2020 report. >> vice-chair lee: madam chair, i wonder if, while we're waiting, if i could ask a question. >> chair ambrose: thank you. and i'm sorry. i forgot to read your text. >> vice-chair lee: if you could because it's hard for me to ask a question. >> chair ambrose: commissioner lee has a question about appointments and notes that the
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director should not be in a political position. that's something that we can hear about from mr. delarosa. i just want to make sure that if somebody pressed star, three, they're not in a holding pattern. so back to the moderator, do we have any callers in the queue in. >> operator: madam clerk, there are no public callers in the queue. >> chair ambrose: okay. then public comment is closed. and mr. delarosa, if you can speak to that. and i understand the chair should be a licensed attorney, but there is really a substantial due process that has to go along with debarment. you're depriving someone of their livelihood. i've been involved in debarment proceedings before.
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it's extremely challenging to build the evidentiary record to overcome the objections, and by opening -- by changing the rules and introducing the concept of suspension, but i'm presuming is a lower bar because you have allegation, not -- not an actual conviction where that hearing has taken place in another court of law, and then, you're just applying it to your contracting process. so any way, all that to say i agree with commissioner lee that it would be best if hearing officers were above reproach and independent and well educated in the -- you
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know, in due process and there are not political appointees, but i don't know if that's part of the legislation. >> and through the chair, actually unsure about exactly how it's worded. i can speak to you about stuff of the things that we've put forward, which is a set of minimum qualifications which could include the licensed attorney. how it's worded, i actually would defer to the city attorney on that, but i can also look into it and get back to you. >> chair ambrose: great. i'm going to actually go back to commissioner bush, who had specific questions about the department process so we can get all of the kind of substantive questions on the floor. and then, if there are things that the city attorney's office can illuminate for us, we can
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go to them. commissioner bush? >> commissioner bush: thank you. am i unmuted? >> chair ambrose: you are. >> commissioner bush: okay. i have three sort of technical questions. a debarred entity can continue to make contributions to candidates or make behest payments? is there an answer to that question? >> i would actually defer to the city attorney for more of a technical -- >> commissioner bush: it would seem a little odd, you debarred somebody, and then, they turnaround and make contributions to the candidates or office holders of the city. >> mr. givner: this is jon givner, deputy city attorney. to answer your question, commissioner bush, disbarment
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does not prohibit someone from making candidate contributions, and the report does not impose a contribution ban. just going back to commissioner -- commissioner ambrose's questions on the city officers, [inaudible] under the debarment code. >> commissioner bush: so if i understand correctly, a contractor cannot contribute, but someone who's just been debarred can? >> mr. givner: if the debarred contract is -- falls within the -- the parameters of
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section 1.126, because they recently obtained a contract approved by an elected official, or the contractor has a pending -- a pending contract that has to be approved by an elected official, then, the contribution ban in section 1.125, but there's not a separate ban on contributions to debarred contractors. >> commissioner bush: it would be good to have some clarifying language in here about all of that. the second question i have, if the federal government debars someone, do we add them to our debarred list if they happen to also be city contractors? so let's say you have a street bond. some of the street bond is being paid with federal money, and the feds have debarred that person.
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do we then debar them as well? >> mr. givner: not sure if this is a question for me or for mark who might know more about the process how we track federal debarments? >> yeah. from the controller's office perspective, commissioner bush, so there is a step in the city's procurement process, whereby a new contract is let and entered into our financial system, there is a let that is currently being done to check and see if they do appear on that website, which is the website that's maintained by the u.s. general services agency that lists all the federally suspended and debarred contractors. and so there is that check that happens at least before things
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are let or paid, it was in the city's system. how it's included in the review of the contractor in the definition of a responsive or responsible bidder, i am unsure about how that is -- whether there is a check that happens at that juncture to see if the contractor that's bidding on a contract appears on that list. >> commissioner bush: okay. thank you for that. the last question i had was that you said the city may require repayment of a contract that was lost because of debarment, but i wasn't clear what constitutes "may require" a repayment. is that entirely discretionary according to the department head?
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who decides what the grounds are for repayment? >> actually, through the chair, i would see if city attorney givner has an answer to that? >> mr. givner: yeah. i don't know the answer to that, but i'm happy to look into it and get back to you, commissioner. >> yeah, and i'll do the same, commissioner. >> commissioner bush: okay. thank you. >> chair ambrose: okay. let me just check. i don't see -- actually, commissioner chiu, i see your hand up, but i don't know if that was for previous comment. >> no, that was from earlier.
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>> commissioner smith: i'd like to commend the controller's office for adding a suspension to the possible remedies. i think if the only one that exists is a complete disbarment, there might be more hesitancy to impose it and allow misconduct to keep going
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on until there were more episodes, so i always believe a more moderate restraint is a good one, and i'd like to commend the controller's office for proposing that. >> all right then, thank you. i'm looking at commissioner lee, and i assume your comment was addressed. with that, i'm going to close agenda item number 4 and call agenda item number 5, which is, again, mr. delarosa. we're going to have discussion and possible action on presentation by controller's office whistleblower program staff on annual report of
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whistleblower program for fiscal year 2019. director pelham, if you can discuss this item and other folks from the controller's office who are here to review this matter with us. >> thank you, chair ambrose. i am going to hand off to our presenter, jeff rose, for a brief introduction. >> chair ambrose: okay. >> this is a second presentation from the controller's office, this one from their annual report fiscal year 2020. the whistleblower program was created by ballot measure i believe in 2003.
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dave jensen is the supervising investigator with the whistleblower program. it's a branch of the office that mark delarosa oversees, and commissioners may know that the enforcement division coordinates pretty closely with the whistleblower program on complaints that entails overlapping jurisdiction or we coordinate in instances where it may -- it may be important for us to evaluate whether the ethics commission should contemplate imposing remedies where the whistle blower program's investigation has identified liability of one kind or another. as i mentioned, dave jensen is with us, the supervising investigator from the whistle blowing program. he will have mark delarosa with him, as well as senior
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investigator dave munoz. dave has conducted investigations since 1996, first with the city attorney's office and now with the whistleblower. he received a master's in public affairs from the l.b.j. school at the university of texas, so i'll hand it off to dave to present their annual report. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you for the opportunity to present before you today the highlights of our fiscal year 19-20 annual report. working with me [inaudible] is senior investigator steven munoz. be happy to answer any questions that you have assort during or after the presentation, but may require some seen munoz to answer some more technical questions you have about the data that we'll be showing you today.
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all right. next slide, please. just some quick background for you. the authority of the whistleblower program. the authority is granted by both state and see law. california code sections 53087.6 enables a city and county auditor or controller to maintain a while blower program to receive reports of allegations of fraud or waste by city or county employees. san francisco government code article 4 directs the city services auditor to initiate a whistleblower program and investigate whistleblower complaints. the section also makes confidential all of our drafts, notes, preliminary reports or benchmark studies and audits, investigations, some other
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reports with very few exceptions. next slide. the campaign and government code spells out matters that are appropriate for investigations by the whistleblower program, [inaudible] improper activities by city officers and [inaudible] deficiencies in the quality and delivery of government services and also wasteful and inefficient government practices. next slide. the campaign and government conduct code also mandates that we refer out several types of complaints. those would be complaints that another city department is required by federal, state, or local law to adjudicate [inaudible] or a contract, complaints that involved violations of criminal law, complaints that are subject to
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[inaudible] investigation, and complaints that allege violations of governmental ethics laws. next slide. in fiscal year 2019-2020, the whistleblower program received 599 new reports. this represents a 19% increase from the previous fiscal year. the whistleblower program has received more reports each year since fiscal year 12-13. we believe there are several factors that can influence the volume of reports that we receive. we don't attribute volume to any one factor, but several factors may influence how many complaints that we receive or such as how the program is being advertised or otherwise publicized through the city workforce. the high volume of reports can mean that the hotline is working as we planned it to or that there's a greater awareness [inaudible] filed the
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complaint or that management is setting the proper tone in setting reporting mechanisms and requirements, including setting the whistleblower program. i will let you know that for quarter one of this current fiscal year, we received 142 reports. [inaudible] for your information, we currently have 90 complaints investigating. next slide. most of the reports that we
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receive come through our on-line web forum, but we use multiple intake channels to make sure that it's accessible with any reporters. regardless that the reporting channel that the reporters use, each report is assigned a unique tracking number so it can be reviewed as quickly as possible. one of the our new features is we've allowed the implementation of walk-in complaints. next slide, please. the whistleblower program closed 585 reports in fiscal year 19-20, and we did see in an average of 64 days. the program closed 75%