City residents rely upon the government of the City and County to deliver many important services affecting the health, vitality and economy of San Francisco. These include services related to the maintenance and cleanliness of streets and parks, health care, emergency services, transportation and public works. Recognizing the difficult economic times the City faces, preservation and enhancement of such services can be achieved only by ensuring that City services are delivered in an efficient, cost- effective manner, and that government waste and unnecessary bureaucracy are curtailed to the greatest extent possible.
It is often difficult for individual San Franciscans to judge the effectiveness and efficiency of local government in providing direct services to residents because of the size and complexity of City government. Consistent with the goals of open government, City government should establish tools to enable residents to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of City services; to compare the City’s progress in delivering such services to that of other cities, counties and government agencies; and, where appropriate, to adopt “best practices” used in other jurisdictions when consistent with the goals of San Francisco residents.
The San Francisco Controller is uniquely situated to provide objective, rigorous measurement of City service levels and effectiveness because the Controller is already charged with assessment of departmental performance and fiscal soundness. In addition, the Controller is appointed to a ten-year term, and therefore is sufficiently independent to render impartial assessments of the City’s provision of public services.
Therefore, this Charter Amendment:
Establishes the Controller as the City Services Auditor, with the authority to conduct independent management and performance audits of departments providing services to San Francisco residents;
Instructs the Controller/City Services Auditor to publish comparisons of the performance of San Francisco departments, the services they deliver, and the outcomes they achieve with other public agencies;
Requires that the Controller/City Services Auditor perform comprehensive financial and performance audits of selected City departments each year;
Mandates that the Controller/City Services Auditor review standards for street and park maintenance in consultation with responsible City departments and perform an annual Clean Streets/Clean Parks audit to track whether these standards are met;
Provides the Controller/City Services Auditor the authority to review Citywide standards for government contracting processes and the development of “Requests For Proposals” to ensure that the selection process is fair and unbiased;
Prohibits conflicts of interest in the auditing process by preventing companies that have participated in departmental operations from acting as outside auditors, requiring that all employees participating in audits be designated confidential employees for labor-relations purposes, and permitting the Controller to obtain outside independent assistance when in-house employees are subject to potential conflicts of interest;
Requires the Controller/City Services Auditor to administer and publicize a whistleblower hotline and website for citizens and employees to report wrongdoing, waste, inefficient practices and poor performance in City government and service delivery;
Authorizes the Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee to also function as an independent Citizens Audit Review Board to advise the Controller/City Services Auditor, to recommend departments in need of comprehensive audit, and to review citizen complaints received through the whistleblower program; and
Provides a dedicated source of revenue equivalent to two-tenths of one percent of the budget of the City and County of San Francisco.
(Added November 2003)