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Meeting Information

Budget and Policy Committee

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City and County of San Francisco


                                                    BUDGET AND POLICY COMMITTEE

City Hall, Room 408

Minutes of the Meeting Held

Wednesday, March 30, 2006


1.         Call to Order and Roll Call.  Commissioner Gerard Gleason, Chair, called the meeting to order at 6:20 pm.  Commissioner Richard Matthews, Deputy City Attorney Miguel Marquez and Director John Arntz were present.  Commissioner Sheila Chung was absent.


2.         Discussion and possible action to consider the question posed by the Director of Elections of whether to continue classifying the Commission Secretary position as full-time and to make a recommendation at the April 19, 2006 full Commission meeting.


            Director Arntz explained that in last year’s budget, the Commission Secretary was funded at 50% of her salary from the Mayor’s Office and the DoE funded the  second half of the salary.   Prior to this time, the Commission Secretary’s salary was covered 100% in the approved budget.  In the upcoming fiscal year, the City is asking again that the DoE fund half the salary.  The Director said that the DoE wants the Commission to make an official statement whether it wants a full or half-time Secretary position to the Mayor’s Office for two reasons:  First, the Commission should be advocating for the Commission Secretary position, either half or full-time, not the Department; Secondly, if the position is funded as full-time, the other half should not come from the remaining DoE budget for staffing.  


            Commissioner Matthews said that he was completely in favor of the Commission advocating for the funding for its Secretary.  He asked if the position is budgeted at full-time, would that half of the salary come from other DoE personnel compensation.


            Director Arntz answered that this had been the case for the current fiscal year.  But if it were to be listed as a full-time position for the upcoming fiscal year, the answer would be “no”, the budget would be allocated to a full-time position.  But, if there is an increase from the half-time to a full-time position, there would be decrease in the DoE’s operating budget for staffing.


            Commissioner Matthews asked if it was correct to say that the question is whether to budget for the position accordingly, so that the money for the salary were segmented off and will not come out of “someone else’s pocket.”    The Commissioner asked the Director to give an example of the detrimental effect of having to use DoE staffing funds to pay for half of the Commission Secretary’s salary last year.


            Director Arntz said that essentially $54,498 of the DoE’s budget was not allocated to temporary or permanent staffing for the Department.  This was money that could not be used for the Department.  He explained that there had been a significant conversation with the Mayor, the Board and the Controller’s office regarding funding for the Department.  While this specific amount was not mentioned, it was a part of the staffing needs discussion.


            Commissioner Gleason asked if when the voters created the Elections Commission, there was a budget established and did that include an Elections Commission Secretary? 


            Director Arntz stated that the Commission Secretary position was established but whether that position was to be full or part-time was not stated.


            Commissioner Gleason stated that for the first three years, the position was full-time, then there was a decision to make it a half-time position to be funded by the Department and the other half by the City.  He asked the Director to explain why/how this happened.


            Director Arntz answered that for the current fiscal year the Mayor’s Office wanted to split the Commission Secretary between two Commissions (in an effort to save money).  When the budget was finalized, there was no other Commission or Department to pick up the half-time costs for that position, and the DoE picked up the remaining 50%.


            Commissioner Gleason said that when the Secretary was originally hired, she was hired as a full-time Commission Secretary, the Secretary accepted this full-time position, then last year, because of budget concerns, the Mayor’s office decided to fund the position as half-time.


            Director Arntz said that this statement was correct. 


            Commissioner Gleason said that he didn’t understand why the Director of Elections was the “go to” person on this matter and not the Commission itself.

            He said that tonight’s discussion was to find a way, other than a letter, to make a more concrete statement to advocate for this position as full-time.


            Director Arntz explained that the Commission and the Commission Secretary are part of the DoE’s budget.  The Commission, itself, has no budget.  Therefore, any funding issues related to the Commission are part of the Department’s budget.  Therefore, there is no conversation for the Commission to have, independent of the Department, when it comes to the Secretary’s position regarding its funding.


            Commissioner Gleason showed the Committee a memorandum to another Commission from the Mayor’s Office regarding a matter, and said he was disappointed that the Election’s Commission had not be notified by the Mayor’s Office in a similar manner.


            Commissioner Matthews asked if the Director thought that the Mayor’s Office now sees the Elections Commission Secretary’s position as half-time.


            Director Arntz answered that he feels that it has been made clear to the Mayor’s Office that the past handling of this situation was not proper, and that it would not be a surprise to the Mayor’s Office to learn that the Elections Commission expects the position to be full-time.  He said that if the Commission makes a statement to that, it would have some authority.  And if any questions continued, that the Commission could easily call a meeting with the Mayor’s Office to discuss this.  This would have an impact on the Mayor’s Office’s thinking regarding the DoE’s budget, but the Director added that he doesn’t want the funds to come from the DoE’s budget.  But that the Secretary’s position should be independently funded.


            Public Comment:  David Pilpel explained that each City Department is responsible for its budget, and included in each budget is its Commission’s Secretary.  He gave two examples:  The Arts Commission, with a staff of 30 or more, has a full time Commission Secretary; the Port Commission, with a staff of 300 shares its Commission Secretary who also serves as Executive Assistant to the Port Director.   Mr. Pilpel said that the list of activities of the Commission Secretary that was provided by Ms. Rodriques is justification for a full-time position.


            MOTION:  That the Commission draft a letter over the signature of the President that the Commission Secretary position should be full-time.  Furthermore, that the Budget and Policy Committee recommend to the full Commission that the Commission try to stay as aware and informed as possible through the Director, of anything in addition to a letter that can be done to advocate for this full-time position.


            The roll call vote was UNANIMOUS. 



ADJOURNMENT was at 6:40pm.