When City Administrator Ed Lee was appointed mayor of San Francisco, to serve out the remainder of Gavin Newsom’s term in office, he said he would do so if he could return to his post as City Administrator. But for that to happen, a city law requires changing. Since the law was adopted by voters, the law change must either be changed with a vote again at the ballot or with “super majority” votes by the Ethics Commission and the Board of Supervisors.
The Ethics Commission is taking up the law change first on Monday during its meeting which begins at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall, in Room 408. At least four of the five commissioners would have to support the change.
Ethics director John St. Croix is recommending approval of the law change.
The current rule prohibits the mayor or members of the board from being appointed to full-time city jobs for one year after leaving their elected posts. The change would make an exception for someone who was appointed to fill a mayoral vacancy and did not file to run for election. St. Croix is recommending that the commission extend the exemption to appointed members on the Board of Supervisors as well.
“Because of the frequency of local elections, individuals who are appointed to fill vacancies in the office of mayor or supervisor usually serve less than a year in office and never more than a year and a half,” St. Croix’s report on the law change says. “The proposed exception to the ban on employment would apply only if the individual does not take out papers to run for that office. These two factors tend to show that such individuals are occupying only caretaker positions.”
St. Croix notes that when it comes to such appointments candidates would be less likely to want to serve the posts if they could not return to their former posts.
“Press reports suggest that Mayor Lee was recruited for the appointment and accepted it reluctantly. One of the concerns he apparently expressed about taking the position was that he might not be able to return to his long-term city employment at the end of the year.”
The vote on the law change comes just days after the Board of Supervisors approved appointing Dorothy Liu as a new member of the commission.
There has been much speculation around Lee’s future. If he did decide to run for mayor it would shake up the race and likely be a considerable blow to other Asian candidates like Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.