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Meeting Information

Budget and Policy Committee

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 

Department of Elections
Elections Commission

APPROVED: 7-17-02

City and County of San Francisco
Minutes of the Meeting Held
Monday, April 22, 2002

Call to Order and Roll Call. Commissioners Alix Rosenthal, Robert Kenealey, Brenda Stowers were present.

Director Haygood, Ara Manasian and Deputy City Attorney Counselor Julie Moll were present.

Discussion of the Department of Elections Annual Budget for fiscal year 2002-2003:
Director Haygood announced that Mr. Ara Manasian has submitted a baseline budget and that the Mayor's office is using last year's budget as a placeholder until the Commission submits its documents today.

Commissioner Stowers asked if the budget the Committee has before them today matches last week's? Mr. Manasian stated that the services of the Sheriff's Office have now be included.

Director Haygood explained that she is substituting a Senior Administrative Analyst for a Management Assistant who will be the fiscal management person.

Regarding substituting three higher paid positions for three lower paid ones, Commissioner Rosenthal stated that she would rather use permanent staff because that is how to gain institutional memory.

Regarding the possibility of spending less for salaries this year as opposed to last year, Mr. Manasian stated that there's no such assumption unless the DOE addresses the space issue. Director Haygood stated that she is projecting that the permanent salaries will stay flat.

Mr. Manasian added that there are two items not considered in this budget: implementation of Proposition A and the Ballot Box Pickup. Director Haygood said that Julie Moll is drafting a waiver request. The Director stated that during the last election the DOE spent $1500 per Fed including a vehicle.

Ms. Moll agreed to consider whether a waiver can cover activities before Election Day.

MOTION to recommend that the Commission seek a waiver for Feds. PASSED unanimously.

Commissioner Rosenthal asked whether, in the last election, ballots were in different languages. Director Haygood responded that the DOE had tri-lingual ballots. The first language was English, the second was Spanish and the third was Chinese and that the order and languages may change once the census results are known.

It was agreed that any decision regarding service to Chinese-speaking voters be passed by the Department of Justice before the DOE proceeds. Director Haygood stated that one question regarding language is whether the DOE can get Prop. 41 funds from the State to replace the eagle machines with touch screens because with the screens, the voter can choose their language.

Ms. Haygood gave an update on reducing the number of precincts. She stated that Supervisor Leno is in favor of the idea and suggested that the Commission have hearings to determine if the DOE should proceed with this idea. Commissioner Rosenthal said that the Committee needs to decide if doing so would be worth the money saved. Mr. Manasian stated that if we reduce the polling places by 10%, we reduce the staff running them also by 10% so you reduce the $440,00 request by 10%.

Mr. Manasian reported that ballot storage is a new item and will cost $190,000.

Commissioner Rosenthal suggested that fees and discounts be discussed as a way of saving. Director Haygood responded that the DOE could discontinue these because they are not required but have been in place customarily. Without the discounts, the department will probably get all its submissions on the last day and this will be a flood of incoming material. Ms. Haygood said that there is legislation in the Rules Committee, at the call of the chair, which will move the deadline for submissions back so that we end up with the same amount of time but without the discount. Commissioner Stowers reminded the Committee that it will be very difficult to communicate a change of this type to the public; we need to present it as our trying to do things right.

Public Comment: Chris Bowman supported the elimination of discounts but wanted public review. He also said that the voters handbook and ballot arguments need to pay for themselves - taxpayers should not have to subsidize arguments.

Commissioner Rosenthal said that she will bring this before the Commission at a later date.

Director Haygood stated that because all the services which come from the Sheriff's department are provided at the overtime rate, she wants to negotiate with that Department.

Ara Manasian suggested that the Committee put in a special request to the Mayor's budget office for the items not funded within the baseline and ask that they consider our request for additional funds for "enhancements" (items above the baseline, one example being hiring FEDs). He stated that we need to submit a list of projects.
Director Haygood suggested the following list of projects: Instant Runoff, a pilot touch screen implementation and elections efficiency project.

MOTION to request two enhancements, run off and the touch screen implementation at the same time, if the funds can be obtained. PASSED unanimously.

Commissioner Rosenthal reported that the Mayor has asked that the DOE find 10% of its baseline to cut ($800,000) and the possibilities are: reduce the number of poll workers, reduce ballot costs and not use the Sheriff's services, or perhaps get the Sheriff to charge the DOE more appropriately.

MOTION to approve the budget. PASSED unanimously.