Saturday, April 20, 2013

SFPD: Gifts Back to 2010 Will Be Disclosed on Rebuilt Site

(Chief Greg Suhr at a joint SFPD and Ron Conway ceremony in June 2012 where an alleged $100,000 donation was made to the force. Credit:

My questions for public information from the police force this past week, addressed here (60 laptops) and here (Ron Conway's $100,000 gift not received) and here (creation of disclosure page), were all answered with terse replies from Maureen Conefrey of the legal division.

Follow up questions seeking specifics from the San Francisco police regarding that disclosure page have brought forth answers from Michael Biel, the Chief of Staff for the department.

We should all be pleased my advocacy has provided accountability over the police and now is bringing the department into legal compliance with state and local sunshine laws, while also nudging the police to adapt their web site at my request to make the Information page way more user-friendly. Three-years-plus of donations are about to be disclosed!

I wish to thank my friends and colleagues in the Sunshine Posse for their unstinting support and assistance in this and my other transparency projects involving elected officials and city agencies. The Sunshine Posse members don't get nearly the attention and accolades they deserve for opening up City Hall and holding our public servants accountable.

Let's get to my questions and responses from Chief of Staff Michael Biel:

Q: Why hasn't the SFPD up to now complied with state and local sunshine laws regarding gift disclosures?
A: This was unintentional. The Department was under the impression the posting on the Police Commission page was sufficient. After being brought to our attention that it is not in compliance, the Department is working to correct this.

Q: Who is the point person for processing gifts received?
A: Deputy Chief Michael Biel, Chief of Staff, oversees the Legal Division, which will have the responsibility for ensuring all proper paperwork for future gifts of $100 or more is processed. This includes the completion of the “Donor Disclosure/Gift Acknowledgement Form” required by the San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 67.

Q: Who will be responsible for creating this gift disclosure page?
A: Deputy Chief Michael Biel, Chief of Staff, oversees the Media Unit, which has been tasked with creating a page, and an associated link, that will contain copies of the “Donor Disclosure/Gift Acknowledgement Form” completed for all future gifts of $100 or more received by the Department.

Q: When will it be operational and how far back in time will it go to disclose gifts in previous years?
A: At this time, it is our expectation to have a live link as soon as feasible as the Media Unit is working on this project. Once completed, all future gifts of $100 or more will be posted when received. An historical record dating back to 2010 will be posted.

Q: Where on the SFPD site will the disclosure page be housed?
A: We are in the process of re-building our website. I am meeting on Monday with or IT Director and others to start the process.

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