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Meeting Information

Budget and Policy Committee

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 


(Approved:   March 15, 2006)

City and County of San Francisco


                                            BUDGET AND POLICY COMMITTEE

City Hall, Room 408

Minutes of the Meeting Held

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


1.         Call to Order and Roll Call.  Commissioner Gerard Gleason, Chair, called the meeting to order at 4:08 pm.  Commissioners Shelia Chung and Richard Matthews, Deputy City Attorney Claire Sylvia and Director John Arntz were also present.


  1. David Pilpel acknowledged the contributions of Deputy City Attorney Claire Sylvia to the Elections Commission. 


3.         Discussion and possible action to approve the minutes for the Budget and Policy Committee meeting of August 4, 2005.  Commissioner Matthews MOVED and Commissioner Chung SECONDED the item. 

            Public Comment – David Pilpel made a typographical correction to the minutes.  In addition, Mr. Pilpel asked if draft Committee minutes could be approved in a regular Commission meeting to eliminate long periods of time passing between the time of a Committee meeting and approval of the minutes at a later meeting of the Committee, given the infrequency of Committee meetings.


The MOTION CARRIED with an unanimous vote to approve the minutes with the correction.


4.         Discussion and possible action to recommend that the Elections Commission approve a Supplemental Budget request for Fiscal Year 2005-2006.  Chairperson Gleason requested that the Committee go over this budget request item by item and ask questions where necessary. 


            Chairperson Gleason asked if the Director had an actual number of temporary employees.  The Director answered that staff has developed staffing charts for temporary/as-needed staffing for this fiscal year and he reminded the Commission that the Department does not have funding for all the temporary positions that are needed for the Primary Election.  The Director explained that the City allocated the same funding amount to the DoE that was used for the last two years, which were one-election years.  This year, there will be two elections, which is why this supplemental budget request is necessary. 


            Commissioner Chung reminded the Director and the Commission that there have been more changes in expenses since the last two years which the City’s budget allocation may not have considered, such as increased absentee ballots, voter numbers, the purchase of a new voting system, and new federal and state legal requirements that increase the amount of work needed to meet these new demands.


            Chairperson Gleason suggested that an appendix be submitted to the City, that would be a page with an election cycle calendar that makes the City aware that there will be more than one election for that year.  Director Arntz stated that the DoE made it clear to the City that there would be two elections in this fiscal year as well as that there would need to be additional funding, because what was allocated would not be sufficient to conduct the elections. 


            The Director explained that polling sites will need to meet ADA standards.  Many garages that were used as polling places in the past will not meet accessibility requirements.  He said that the DoE needs staffing to look for more sites in order to meet the new legal demands.


            Chairperson Gleason asked why the vendors don’t provide an educational video for their equipment instead of the DoE having to do so.  Director Arntz replied that most counties make their own instructional videos, but suggested that San Francisco could “borrow” ideas and text from other jurisdictions to use in our instructional materials.  He said that the vendor may not be able to provide information in a video that would be as specific as the City might prefer.  For example, we have different languages and cultures in our City and might want to take different approaches in disseminating information to voters.  Chairperson Gleason suggested that the vendor offer more incentives to the City that include educational information for voters.  Director Arntz said that he will look into this.


            Commissioner Matthews asked if a new accounting staff person had been obtained.  Director Arntz replied that this had occurred and that the person will begin working later this month.   The Commissioner asked if the potential savings that an all postal ballot might realize had been calculated by the Department.  The Director said that the information was collected and forwarded to Supervisor Daly’s office and that he would provide the same information to the Commission.


            Director Arntz stated that of particular notice on the supplemental budget was a replacement server.  Currently, there is a server that malfunctioned and needs to be replaced.

            Commissioner Matthews thanked David Pilpel for his efforts in offering his expertise to the DoE in its recent budget preparations.


            Commissioner Gleason asked that the minutes reflect that the Committee is here today regarding the request for a supplemental appropriation for the Department's budget in order to conduct a regularly scheduled second election; so that two years from now, we can review and determine if underfunding for a regularly scheduled election is an anomaly or standard operating procedure when the city prepares its budget.


            Commissioner Matthews MOVED and Commissioner Chung SECONDED that this Supplemental Budget Request go forward to the full Commission with the Budget and Policy Committee’s recommendation for approval. 


            A roll call vote was UNANIMOUS.


  1. .  Commissioner Matthews called the panel’s attention to the “Efficiency Plan for San Francisco’s Department of Elections, Fiscal Year 2005-2006”, page 5.2 in the Commissioner’s packet for this meeting.  He asked about the 380 outreach and education events with ten full-time staff that is mentioned in the plan, and whether there are any figures regarding how many new voters are registered as a result of these events.  Director Arntz stated that this information would be hard to track, and the Department is currently following the outreach plan that was presented to the Commission last year.  The Director added that the DoE is attempting to do presentations in “New Citizens” training classes.


Commissioner Chung asked if the Department has a way of measuring whether it is reaching its outreach goals.  Director Arntz replied that the Department has “Feedback Forms”.  These forms were at polling places at the last election. 


Commissioner Matthews called the panel’s attention to “Pollworker Recruitment And Training”, and complimented the Department and staff on their efforts and said that each year the training gets better.  Additionally, the Commissioner praised the high school poll workers. 


Commissioner Matthews praised the Department for its IRIS (Incident Reporting Information System) which assesses election day services and determines if the Department must focus on specific issues in its poll worker training programs, and reminded the Committee members that the Secretary of State (SOS) has asked the San Francisco DoE to contribute much of its own materials to help the SOS in developing a statewide curriculum for poll worker training.


Commissioner Gleason noted the “overnight mailing” expenses in the budget and asked if the Department was required to overnight mail the ballots that are sent to San Francisco voters who live overseas.  Director Arntz replied that the Department uses Express Overnight because this service has a tracking element that allows the Department to know if the ballot reached the voter.   The post office does not offer this tracking.  This is not mandated, but is a service the Department provides to voters.  Director Arntz said that the San Francisco Department of Elections tries, in every way it can, to see that our voters get their ballots.


Commissioner Matthews MOVED and Commissioner Chung SECONDED that the Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2006 - 2007 go forward to the full Commission with the Budget and Policy Committee’s recommendation for approval. 


A roll call vote was UNANIMOUS.


6.         ADJOURNMENT at 5:32 pm.
















Disability Access

The Elections Commission meeting will be held in Room 400, City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA. The Commission meeting room is wheelchair accessible. The closest accessible BART station is the Civic Center Station at United Nations Plaza and Market Street. Accessible MUNI lines serving this location are: #42 Downtown Loop, and #71 Haight/Noriega and the F Line to Market and Van Ness and the Metro Stations at Van Ness and Market and at Civic Center. For information about MUNI accessible services call (415) 923-6142. There is accessible curbside parking adjacent to City Hall on Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue and in the vicinity of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue adjacent to Davies Hall and the War Memorial Complex.

The following services are available on request 48 hours prior to the meeting; except for Monday meetings, for which the deadline shall be 4:00 p.m. of the last business day of the preceding week: For American sign language interpreters or the use of a reader during a meeting, a sound enhancement system, and/or alternative formats of the agenda and minutes, please contact The Elections Office at (415) 554- 4375 or our TDD at (415) 554-4386 to make arrangements for the accommodation. Late requests will be honored, if possible.

In order to assist the City's efforts to accommodate persons with severe allergies, environmental illnesses, multiple chemical sensitivity or related disabilities, attendees at public meetings are reminded that other attendees may be sensitive to various chemical based products.  Please help the City accommodate these individuals. Individuals with chemical sensitivity or related disabilities should call our accessibility hotline at (415) 554-6060.

Know your rights under the Sunshine Ordinance (Chapter 67 of the San Francisco Administrative Code)

Government's duty is to serve the public, reaching its decisions in full view of the public. Commissions, boards, councils, and other agencies of the City and County exist to conduct the people's business. This ordinance assures that deliberations are conducted before the people and that City operations are open to the people's review. For more information on your rights under the Sunshine Ordinance or to report a violation of the ordinance, contact the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, Donna Hall, Clerk, City Hall, Room 409, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102-4683 at Phone No.: (415) 554-7724; Fax No.: (415) 554-7854; E-mail: [email protected] Copies of the Sunshine Ordinance can be obtained from the Clerk of the Sunshine Task Force, the San Francisco Public Library and on the City's website at

The ringing of and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at this meeting. Please be advised that the Chair may order the removal from the meeting room of any person(s) responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound-producing electronic devices.

Lobbyist Registration and Reporting Requirements

Individuals and entities that influence or attempt to influence local legislative or administrative action may be required by the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance [SF Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code §2.100] to register and report lobbying activity. For more information about the Lobbyist Ordinance, please contact the Ethics Commission at 30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 3900, San Francisco, CA 94102; telephone (415) 581-2300, fax (415) 581-2317; web site at