SF Supes approves measure to expand city’s anti-corruption oversight – NBC Bay Area
San Francisco supervisors unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday that will expand the city’s ability to investigate and oversee city functions through the council’s Budget and Legislative Analyst (BLA) .
The vote follows a proposed budget allocation by Supervisor Dean Preston to expand the BLA to take on a greater role in preventing public corruption, Preston’s office said.
The BLA contracts with the city, providing council-requested annual program audit reports and recommendations regarding legislation with budget impact, Preston said.
The city’s budget has grown, but its oversight by the BLA has not, Preston said, adding that it has actually been “stable” over the past decade.
“San Francisco‘s current system of checks and balances has failed to root out corruption, and we simply cannot wait for the next round of federal bribery indictments,” Preston said in a statement. “We must be proactive in preventing corruption and restoring public trust. This requires increased commitment at all levels of government, including enhanced oversight by the oversight board.”
San Francisco has had its share of scandals. Since 2020, Preston has identified eight:
-Mohammed Nuru, director of public works, who was indicted for corruption and fraud in January 2020.
-The Mayor of London Breed admitted receiving gifts from Nuru in breach of the city’s ethics laws in February 2020.
-Tom Hui, director of the building inspection department, resigned amid corruption allegations in March 2020.
-Sandra Zuniga, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, was removed from her post after being charged with conspiracy to launder money in June 2020.
-Naomi Kelly, city administrator and supervisor of Nuru, revealed in a comptroller’s report that she knew that Nuru was urging contractors to donate to public works in violation of ethics rules in September 2020.
-Harlan Kelly, chief executive of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, was charged with public corruption in November 2020
-Debbie Raphael, director of the environmental department, resigned following an alleged solicitation of a donation from Recology in April this year.
-Darryl Honda, chairman of the appeal board, resigned after failing to disclose his economic interests in July this year.
Preston argues that current audits can take “several months” and sometimes up to a year and that the BLA has had to limit its scope. Last month, the board earmarked an additional $800,000 to expand the BLA’s capacity. Once funds are released, expanded surveillance will begin.