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Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) online

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and agencies, many of the other city departments and agencies, and
the public. The City Planning Department is assigned the task of
processing approximately 600 building permits a month and providing
city-wide liaison so that neighborhood groups are informed of
planning matters, to ensure that neighborhood concerns are incorporated
in the decision-making process. It also works closely with citizens
advisory committees and other neighborhood groups.

With such a broad and important assigned task, the staff of
this department, has been coping with its assigned work-load under a
minimal skeleton crew and in poorly located office quarters at 100
Larkin and 1212 Market Streets. In spite of the severe handicapped
condition in which they have been placed, Mr. Rai Okamoto, the
Planning Director, and his administrative staff have (since the first
of January, 1976, when Mr. Okamoto took charge of the Department)
devoted themselves to their assigned task and have displayed their
remarkable professional ability in all aspects of their duties.

Past Grand Juries have recommended housing the Planning
Department personnel together in one office building rather than in
three separate ones. We are happy to see that some consideration has
been given to these past recommendations and that the Department
personnel are now housed in only two instead of three locations.
However, it is noted that there is still much hinderance in the
performance of their duties and inconvenience to the public because
the Department is not located together in one building and also is
located away from the other City departments, with which this
department has close daily contact.

With respect to the clearly noticeable shortage of working
staff, Planning Director Okamoto has submitted excellently prepared
Budget Explanations for the coming 1977-1978 fiscal year, supporting
the conservative and well prepared 1977-1978 Budget for the City
Planning Department. However, this Grand Jury deeply regrets to
report that, the necessary budget requests have been drastically cut
down or completely rejected by the Mayor and/or Board of Supervisors'
Finance Committee. For instance, a budget request for 6 clerk typists
had been submitted for the coming fiscal year. Seven clerical
positions (3 ad valorem and 4 CETA) were lost in the past year,

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DEPARTMENT OF CITY PLANNING (continued)

because people left the Department and their positions were not
allowed to be refilled. After the Mayor's office had trimmed the
request and approved 3 Clerk Typist positions, the Board of Supervisors'
Finance Committee disapproved the entire request allowing no replace-
ment of the badly needed clerical help. The submitted Budget Explana-
tions clearly set forth the importance of having the few requested
positions approved. The Work Program for the coming fiscal year was
also excellently prepared and submitted by the Planning Department
last February. When examination of both the Work Program and the
Budget Explanations is thoroughly made, there should be no doubt how
sincerely and in detail these two submitted documents were prepared
by the department .

Mr. Okamoto has been much concerned with the lowering of
staff morale ever since he took office. Although he has been able to
handle this potential problem very efficiently so far, this Grand
Jury recommends the following in order to enable the department's
work-load to be processed promptly and smoothly:

1. If and when a supplemental budget is submitted by the department,
that it be given prompt attention and a thorough review.

2. It is also recommended that the Planning Department be placed in
one centralized location, if at all possible, together with or
close to the other City departments with which the department
has frequent daily contact. It is urged that this recommendation
be followed and realized within the next few months, instead of
waiting for a building to be acquired in the future, since this
also is tied in closely with the efficiency of the work-load
processing and the morale of the department personnel, not to
speak of the inconveniences placed on the public having business
contact with this department.



PARKING AUTHORITY

Under the five members of the Parking Authority, there are
only three on the staff working in the Office, including the Director.
In spite of this amall staff, unlike those prevailing throughout the
City departments, there appears to be no morale problems existing in
this office. Mr. Arthur Becker, until his retirement, effective
January 31 > 1977, apparently had received good reciprocal cooperation
and assistance from his staff, the Parking Authority members and
other departments. In addition to having no morale problems, Mr.
Becker indicated that his department had no budgetary fund shortage
problem and no complaints on the number of staff.

Succeeding Mr. Becker, Mrs. Margaret L. Brady was appointed

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PARKING AUTHORITY (continued)

and took over the directorship the first of February of 1977- As did
Mr. Becker, Mrs. Brady has indicated that, despite the completion of
BART the need for additional parking facilities in the City has not
decreased. Except for the Performing Arts Center garage and the two
decks being added to the Mission-Bartlett Oarage, there will be no
more large parking facilities built for some time, unless construction
of the Yerba Buena Center is begun in the very near future.

As to the existing public parking garages, the new Director
had submitted for approval a budget request of $0,000 to remodel the
3 elevators in the Civic Center Garage, where only one is now in
operation. Although this request was turned down by the Finance
Committee in April 1977, two oil-hydraulic elevators are presently
being installed with the contingency fund being used. This will
enable the Civic Center Garage to have three elevators in working
condition within a few months .

The Neighborhood Parking Program, which has been in
effect for over ten years, is working very smoothly with 22 Municipal
parking lots, apart form the curbside parking, in existence at present.
With a keen lively interest in her new position, Mrs. Brady has
actively started to conduct a close study and survey of the neighbor-
hood shopping district parking.

In conclusion, it is found that this is one department of
the City, where very few problems exist. Mr. Arthur Becker is to be
commended for his Job well-done and it is very fortunate for the
Parking Authority to have such an active and capable new Director,
Mrs. Margaret Brady to succeed the position.



RECREATION AND PARK DEPARTMENT

The Recreation and Park Department has such a broad
diversity of activities that it is almost impossible for us to
investigate each of them thoroughly during this Grand Jury's term.
Consequently, this report is a result of concentration on certain
problems which were brought to our attention and investigated. This
department, headed by Mr. John J. Spring as its Director and under
the Recreation and Park Commission presided over by Mr. Eugene L.
Friend, supervises and manages many facilities, which the City and
County of San Francisco is famous for and can be proud of. However,
in recent years, due to lack of funds for proper management and
maintenance, some of the facilities have been left to run down and
now have even gotten to the state of disgraceful disrepair.



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RECREATION AND PARK DEPARTMENT (continued)

The Golf Courses

Investigating the conditions of the five Municipal golf
courses, there Is much to be Improved In the manner of management
and the maintenance of the courses and the building facilities. For
the above reason, concerned citizens organized the Citizens Golf
Association of San Francisco in 1972. In spite of the efforts and
volunteer contributions of this concerned citizens' group for the
past five years, there still remained apparent deterioration in both
the management and maintenance of the building facilities. In
January of this year a "Citizens Advisory Committee for the Municipal
Golf Courses" was appointed by the Board of Supervisors with its
first meeting being held on the 22nd of February. This Grand Jury is
happy to see these two groups working very closely. The new Advisory
Committee is attemtlng to find some good solutions by starting to
look into all aspects of the existing problems regarding the
Municipal golf courses. Investigation has been conducted by this
Grand Jury, including the studying of the Citizens Advisory Committee's
unofficial interim report drafted with what it has been able to find
out in the short time of only a few months since its formation. We
understand that there is a proposal made and a public hearing is
being planned on the feasibility of leasing out management and
operation of the Municipal golf courses to private parties, which
may be one good solution in the improvement of all aspects of the
golf courses which once had a fine reputation. This Grand Jury has
received and studied a copy of an interim report and recommendation
proposed, in a rought draft form, by a sub-committee of the Citizens
Advisory Committee. The Report is yet to be finalized and approved by
the Advisory Committee as a whole. The proposed recommendations are
detailed and thorough. It is, therefore, strongly urged that the
Recreation and Park Commission, the General Manager, the Director
and the Supervisors placed in charge of the golf courses and facilities,
make every effort to carry out promptly the good and feasible recom-
mendations the Advisory Committee may propose. In the meantime, with-
out waiting for a permanent new policy on the management of these
assets, the Grand Jury strongly recommends that all City officials
involved see to it that the following is carried out:

1. A fund be appropriated and approved to improve the
restaurant facility of the Lincoln Park building which has been
condemned and closed for the past several years, to have it restored
to the standard required by the City Codes and ordinances, so that it
will be easier to find a consessionaire to run a good restaurant to
be utilized by golfers and possibly by the general public.

2. Patrolling and marshalling of golf courses are prac-
tically non-existent at present. It is strongly recommended that at
least one marshal be assigned to each of the three 18 hole courses so
that each of the golf course supervisors will be able to devote his



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RECREATION AND P ARK D E PARTMENT (continued)

time to all phases of his assigned duties efficiently. It is further
recommended that the Recreation and Park Commission and the Department
make a request for cooperation to the Police Department that a
standing order be issued to have Officers from the Police Station, in
whose geographical Jurisdiction the courses are located, to give full
cooperation and assistance to the marshals of the golf courses as part
of their assigned duties. This was done many years ago. Also, an
inter-communication system is necessary between the Police patrol
cars, the Golf Marshals and the starters' offices. A method is
needed where citations may be issued to trespassers and vandals on
the courses by police officers responding to the request of marshals
or starters. This should decrease the number of so-called "free-
loaders" on the courses, increase the revenue from the green-fees
and minimize any unnecessary golf course repair and maintenance cost.

West Sunset and Diamond Heights

It is noted that at various recreational facilities, such
as West Sunset and Diamond Heights area recreational parks and
facilities, and on many other children's playgrounds much vandalism
can be observed with the damages not repaired promptly. It is
recommended that funds be appropriated to have such repairs made
immediately or have measures taken so that such damages cannot be done
so easily and enable children, senior citizens and others to utilize
such facilities safely and without any fear.

A vacant lot, left unused for many years, is existing
adjacent to the West Sunset Recreation Center, where a recreational
facility such as a soccer ground may be developed by the Recreation
and Park Department. This Grand Jury investigation reveals that the
land title to this vacant lot is in the name of the School Department/
Board of Education. It is recommended that this title, which was
acquired by the School Department/Board of Education in the early
1950s, approximately 25 years ago, be transferred, to the Recreation
and Park Department for a recreational facility, which could be
utilized in this area of the City. For this purpose, it is strongly
recommended that the Controller's Office give full cooperation and
assistance to the Recreation and Park Commission and Department and the
Board of Education and that all parties concerned promptly work out
the best possible way for this title transfer and materialization
of such recreational facility.

Golden Gate Park Closing

This Grand Jury is happy to see that the Recreation and
Park Commission and Department are very thorough and cautious in
conducting their public hearings and coming up with fair and wise
decisions thereafter. The public hearing on the additional
holidays' closing of Golden Gate Park to auto traffic held on
April 11th was most efficiently handled and the subsequent decision

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RECREATION AND PARK DEPARTMENT (continued)

made by them was most appropriate against this additional closing.

This Grand Jury wishes to thank all the Commissioners and
the administrative staff members of the Recreation and Park
Department and also the Director and staff of the Real Estate
Department for rendering us their full cooperation and assistance
during our study and investigation of the Recreation and Park
Department .



Mrs. Mary B. Donnelly
George A. Kardum

Seizo F. Oka, Chairman



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DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Mr. Edwin Sars field is General Manager of this department and
controls a budget of $163 million of which approximately $20 million is
medical aid to families with dependent children. The department
contracts an additional $1.5 million in supervised home supportive
services. This department has one of the three largest budgets in the
City and County of San Francisco; the first of which is the Department
of Public Health Budget, and second the Unified School District. The
Department of Social Services employs 1,600 people and occupies five
buildings in the City. The first three floors of the Flood Building
at 870 Market Street are occupied by the Department of Social Services.
Food stamps are distributed at 1360 Mission Street. A building is being
constructed at 170 Otis Street. It will be completed around March 1978,
and will house all of the Department of Social Services offices.

The Department of Social Services also provides aid to the
totally disabled, mentally retarded, aid to the blind, aid to people over
65 years of age, and general welfare.

The function of the Department of Social Services is to provide
financial, medical and social services to all eligible people in the City
and County of San Francisco. After one applies for these benefits and
services, the Department of Social Services must investigate the need
and approve eligibility. The investigatory processes have resulted in
a great cut back of persons on general welfare assistance to those genu-
inely in need. Mr. Sars field is to be congratulated in this vigorous
effort.

A new training program has been instituted to enable staff
members to receive time off from work to continue training in psychology
and related fields. This should enable the department to retain highly
skilled staff people. In addition, it is reported that many of the
employees have received time from work to complete classes leading to a
Master's Degree. This again should benefit the department provided the
time off is not disproportionate to job requirements.

COMMISSION ON THE AGING

San Francisco has a very large percentage of senior citizens.
As a result, the Commission on the Aging was established in 1972 to
provide a broad range of direct services and to act as a sounding board
for increased awareness of the City government toward the unique prob-
lems of the elderly.

Mr. Patrick Magee, the Director of the Commission on the Aging,
has his offices at 1095 Market Street. Despite a rather limited budget
of only $88,000 the Commission seems to be singularly dedicated to their
task.

-54-



COMMISSION ON THE AGING (continued)

Housing problems of senior citizens constitute a major
concern of the Commission. Although the Commission does not have direct
Jurisdiction over nursing homes, it maintains a watchful eye over
their operations and imparts that information through a housing referral
system.

Recent publicity concerning the State inspection of the Post
Street Convalescent Home has made the public aware that abuses even
do occur in licensed homes. We are informed that the Post Street
Convalescent Home has been placed on 6 months probation by the State.

Because many elderly citizens die within months of a transfer
to a nursing home, the Commission is studying alternatives to that
kind of sometimes abrupt displacement. One proposal is a home-sharing
system where several senior citizens can combine their limited incomes
to support an independent existence in a private residence.

The Commission also maintains several unheralded but important
programs. A senior citizens' information telephone line is open 24 hours
a day, seven days a week. The service provides information on Jobs
and housing, on City programs, benefits and even social and cultural
opportunities. Additionally, the Commission publishes and distributes
booklets of services for the elderly in several languages.

This Commission under the direction of Mr. Patrick McGee,
has a very limited budget of $88,000 and thus uses volunteers both young
and old to accomplish the Commission's work. They seem to be very
dedicated and enterprising people, truly concerned about the senior
citizens of the City.

We applaud their efforts.

COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN

Ms. Susan Heller is Coordinator and Executive Director of
the Commission with a modest budget of only $59,000. Of the eight
people on the staff, six are CETA employees. Ms. Heller must thus
accomplish her responsibilities with volunteers — approximately
two hundred in number.

This Commission is less than two years old, and one wonders,
based on the above figures, whether the City is really committed to
the work of increased awareness of women's abilities and rights.



-55-



COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN (continued)

Despite these obstacles, this Commission has made great
strides. Although not acting as a Job referral or Job placement
agency, it has been concerned with opening non-traditional Jobs
to women: firefighting, engineering, architecture, management
and some craft trades. It monitors civil service job announcements
and testing procedures. A major area of study is equality in pay
for comparable work.

With regard to childcare, the Commission participated in
the Board of Supervisors ' Childcare Task Force and is currently
attempting to make improvements in this area.

Although reporting a decline in the number of credit
complaints, the Commission does monitor credit problems and actively
follows up on the few inquiries it receives. These usually relate
to women being unable to obtain credit, or recently divorced women
seeking to establish a good credit rating, this affects their lives
in many ways, especially in the purchase of homes.

In sum, despite a certain ambivalence to its functions by
the City, this Commission is forthrightly addressing the problems
of women in our society and patiently making progress in solving
them. Much of their success comes in making City government and
other employees sensitive to previously unperceived inequities.



Earl L. Ellingson

Mrs . Dagmar G . Meyer

Mrs. Edith Perlman, Chairman



-56-



CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

This committee has made a survey of the Civil Service
Commission, Health Service System and Retirement System. There is
an inter-relation of these services and an interdependency on each
other in the areas of the initial hiring, health and welfare coverage
and retirement of the city employees. This committee has found minor
recommendations for improvement of these agencies as the department
heads have very efficiently managed the operation of their departments.

The Civil Service Commission's role and personnel function is
detailed in 16 Charter sections. Their responsibility is limited to
adopting rules to carry out the intent of the various Charter sections.

The resignation of Mr. Bernard Orsi, as General Manager,
has been most untimely, since it was at the time when Mr. James F.
Wurm, the Assistant General Manager, Personnel, was also retiring.
Fortunately, The City will have Mr. John J. Walsh, who has seventeen
years of experience with various government agencies, to take up the
post .

Hearing Officer

About a year ago it was contemplated that a qualified hearing
officer would conduct dismissal hearings instead of the department head.
Only recently has this proposal been sufficiently supported so that an
amendment of the rule has been proposed for adoption. When adopted,
notification will be sent to:

The State Conciliation Service

The American Arbitration Association

The San Francisco Bar Association and other agencies.

The notification will indicate the method of application re-
quirements for hearing officer and compensation for such services on a
daily or per case basis. This committee recommends that a hearing
officer be implemented soon to enable more executive time to be employed
in managing the department and save precious tax dollars and hours spent
by the department head.



HEALTH SERVICE SYSTEM

The Health Service System, under Mr. Philip J. Kearney,
Executive Director, deals with the various employee health insurance
plans. Mr. Kearney has administered the operation well and has carried
out the System's mandated responsibility effectively.

-57-



HEALTH S ERVICE SYSTF" (continued)

Previously there were three plans:

1. City Administered,

2. Kaiser Foundation,

3. Blue Cross.

The Blue Cross representative and the Board have mutually
agreed to discontinue Plan 3 effective June 30, 1977.

Blue Cross

The rates presented for the fiscal year 1977-1973 included
36. H% increase and a further stiDulation that at least 4620 members
enroll in the plan.

The Board determined that the rate will not be commensurate
with the earning power of City employees and additionally that the
required number for enrollment cannot be guaranteed.



RETIREMENT SYSTEM

Mr. Daniel Matrocce, Secretary and General Manager of the
Retirement System, and Mr. George B. Springman, Chief Investment
Officer, were criticized after an investigation by the Board of
Supervisors' Budget Analyst. The report made on the investment opera-
tion by the Budget Analyst was dramatic, but was proven at least par-
tially unwarranted. It must be borne in mind that such trust funds
are absolutely restricted from being invested in speculative securities
with high risks which are most likely attractive from the standpoint
of being of high yield but which are of low quality. The funds in this
System, which are for the future benefit of the City employees, must be
invested in sound quality securities. Bearing this in mind as the most
essential requirement, the able staff of the Retirement Board should
make every effort to invest in those securities with the best possible
yields and the lowest risk within the strictures of bond sale penalties,
The analyst's investigation and report seem to have been centered on
the yield, which should not have been the main criteria in looking into
operation of this type of fund.

The analyst also reported "excessive cash balance" being main-
tained with the City Treasurer's Office which is restricted to invest-
ment of low yield, rather than invested by the System itself. The
System staff has concurred with this finding of the analyst and at pres-
ent they are investing the excess cash for higher yield themselves.



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R ETIREMENT SYSTEM (continued)

The disability awards payments made to police and fire
personnel in San Francisco run five times higher than the awards
bestowed on those in Los Angeles. With a view toward a more impartial
and fair adjudication of such claims, it is recommended that the Board
hire an independent professional hearing officer to handle the disabil-



Online LibraryCalifornia. Grand Jury (San Francisco)Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) → online text (page 6 of 32)