California. Grand Jury (San Francisco).

Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) online

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ity retirement claims.

Stelios M. Andrew
Lawrence M. DuVall

Carlos E. Xavier, Chairman



The Chief Administrative Officer of the City and County of
San Francisco is a non-political position appointed by the Mayor and
approved by the Board of Supervisors. His term runs until retirement

The very able Mr. Thomas J. Mellon has retired and the Board
of Supervisors approved the appointment of Mr. Roger Boas. This
committee had various contacts with Mr. Mellon and he felt that his
greatest achievements were the completion of the new San Francisco
General Hospital and the beautification of Market Street.

Mr. Boas, however, inherited many old and new problems, for
example the Yerba Buena project which is now in the hands of the
architects and engineers who are preparing the final plans. San
Francisco will finally get its much needed Convention Center.

The lack of middle management has remained with the depart-
ment and this committee believes that a concentrated training program
should be undertaken to improve the caliber of middle management
throughout City departments and thus have better coordination between
various City departments.

Mr. Boas also had to tackle the proposed sewer contract to
M.B.M. Certain irregularities were uncovered and Mr. Boas cancelled
any further negotiations with this firm. This exposes a problem in
the selection process of parties to consulting contracts. It is
apparent that there is a need for uniform guidelines to be followed
before the designation of the parties to such negotiated contracts
which should include a credit check, criminal screening as well as
determination of professional qualifications.

The urgent need for better management has manifested itself
by all these above mentioned cases and we feel that Mr. Boas should
take the initiative and improve the level of middle management through-
out City government and thus safeguard against unnecessary expenses
for the taxpayers of the City and County of San Francisco.


City government is not fully informed as to the extent of
the duties of the Coroner's office according to Dr. Boyd G. Stephens,
M.D. The Coroner and his staff carry the responsibility of determin-
ing the cause of death in any unexplained death or any death case
that was unattended by a physician for a period of 20 days prior to


CORONER (continued)

The Coroner is called into every homicide case, yet, his
investigators are not compensated at the same level as compared to
other investigators in other City departments.

The office is known as one of the best in the country.
Dr. Stephens fears that due to the lack of top modern equipment the
Coroner's office is quickly losing this reputation. The sore point
here seems to be that there is not enough funding for necessary lab
equipment. Dr. Stephens told us that, if for instance, the deputies
and the toxicologist would withdraw some of their personal equipment
this office would have to close.

The copying machine, which actually makes money for the
City, is only on loan from a research project. The Coroner cannot
get a copy machine of his own, the same with a computerized vital
instrument in the toxicology room. Dr. Stephens does not feel this
office would not pass an inspection by a national accreditation
committee if it were inspected with only City furnished equipment.

Dr. Stephens said that he should have at least two full-
time pathologists. He has only one full time and one part-time
pathologist at present. He also needs one more full-time technologist
because the quality of the work suffers, considering that the part-
time personnel has additional interests elsewhere.

Any homicide in recent years requires a lot more detailed
investigation and more technical testimony in court and is a lot
more time-consuming compared to what it used to be.

The present staff has to handle 2,500 cases a year and they
do a commendable job. As to morale within the department, it is our
opinion that aside from the fact that his staff feels that they are
underpaid, the morale is good. Dr. Stephens said that he has very
good relations with other City departments, although he mentioned
that there were cases where the police did not act very prudently
regarding homicide evidence. The coroner's working area is quite
modern and very spacious.


1. The Coroner should give lectures at the Police Academy
concerning homicide procedures. He had not been invited for the last
five years to lecture at the Academy although in other municipalities
this is common procedure.

2. Prom the standpoint of economy and efficiency equipment
that is used both in the Police department Crime Lab and the Coroner's
Lab should be purchased and used jointly wherever possible. The Police
department and Coroner's office should coordinate in this regard.


CORONER (continued)

3. It appears to this Grand Jury that although there is no
dishonesty in the Coroner's Department regarding claims of bodies from
the morgue by private morticians, we do recommend that a better pro-
cedure could be developed within the department. We feel that a more
foolproof system is in order, perhaps requiring written confirmation
of the authorization from the family to the mortician.


This department is responsible for all inter-communications
of the Police department and Fire department. The department which is
headed by the able General Manager, Mr. Burton H. Dougherty, is also
responsible for the upkeep of all parking meters and installation of
stoplights throughout the City. Repairs and services are carried out
by the department through work orders that are received by Mr.
Dougherty. All new installations are approved by the Board of
Supervisors .

In a previous Grand Jury report, it was foreseen that the
9-1-1 emergency telephone service would be available to the citizens
of San Francisco by September 1975. It is now June 1977 and this
system appears to be still headed for an indefinite delay. We were
in contact with Mr. Dougherty on this and we were told that an ad hoc
committee is studying the additional cost since AB 416 was passed by
the State Legislature. Mr. Dougherty estimates this system would
cost the City about $800,000 annually to operate. The State would
contribute about $588,000 per year. A lot of valuable time in emergen-
cy situations could be saved by implementation of the 9-1-1 system.
This department also maintains the electrical board operated by and
supported by a new computerized system used by the Fire Department
which gives essential information as to how much equipment to send to
any particular fire, the routes to take and the occupancy of the

There are a lot of dedicated people in this department. Mr.
Dougherty has to perform administrative as well as technical duties,
because the vital position of work-crew foreman has been eliminated.
Preventive maintenance on equipment cannot be performed because of
this lack of personnel.


1. The 9-1-1 system should be installed because we see it
as an absolutely necessary system and vital time can be saved in
individual emergency situations.



2. The position of work-crew foremen should be reinstated
to return Mr. Dougherty to his administrative duties.

Frank L. Markey

Miss Irene G. O'Neill

Wolfgang Hellpap, Chairman



The Director of the Department of Finance and Records, Mr.
Virgil Elliott, subject to the approval of the Chief Administrative
Officer, administers the services and activities of the Department
of Finance and Records, Agriculture and Weights and Measures, County
Clerk, Recorder, Registrar of Voters, Public Administrator - Public
Guardian, Tax Collector, and Farmers Market. Mr. Elliott did have
the Records Center under his supervision, but this Department has
been disbanded, a private firm now handles the storage for the former
Records Center. The five employees who worked in the Records Center
have been placed in other duties in other departments .

Even though Mr. Elliott has a great many responsibilities
supervising several departments he seems to be very dedicated and
capable in the performance of the duties of Director.


The Department of Agriculture and Weights and Measures under
the direction of Mr. Raymond L. Bozzini is composed of three units:

1. Agriculture

2 . Farmers ' Market

3. Sealer of Weights and Measures

The three principal responsibilities of this department are:

1. To promote and protect the agricultural industry.

2. To protect and benefit the grower and consumer and
the environment by enforcing the provisions of the
Agricultural Code.

3. To promote and protect the health and welfare of our
citizens within the parameter of his delegated authority

The Department of Agriculture's personnel consists of one
Commissioner, one Deputy Commissioner, five Inspectors and one clerk



1. The Sealer has the primary function of inspection of
scales :

a. Railway track - for freight cars

b. Wholesale and retail butcher scales

c. Counter - spring, computing, and prescription

d. Special scales - platform and dormant. Vehicle,
Hopper and Tank.

2. Independent weighmasters are inspected to make sure
their scales are accurate.

3. Petroleum equipment - This pertains to the inspection
of equipment used by firms that sell petroleum products
such as motor fuel, motor oils and lubricants.

4. Package inspection - This function is the inspection of
packages , containers or amounts of commodities sold or
being delivered, in order to determine whether they have
the exact quantity or amount, and if they are labeled

5. Measuring devices inspected - retail gas pumps, Grease
oil meters, Yardage meters, Vehicle meters, Taxi meters,
Liquified gas meters, Liquid meters.

Electric Sub-Meters

The Sealer of Weights and Measure's has the duty of inspecting
Electric Sub-meters. Due to an insufficient inspection staff, he
has been unable to perform this duty.

A survey conducted by the State Bureau of Weights and Measures
in January 1970, revealed that San Francisco has more than 11,200
apartment houses in addition to office buildings. It was found
that some of these buildings have up to 500 sub-meters . There are
a total in excess of 15,000 sub-meters. It was noted that many electric
meters are undersized, wired wrong for accurate measurement, and installed
on the wrong voltages. Many of the installations date as far back
as 1910. State investigations showed many meters present significant
safety hazards. This situation still exists today.

The testing of electric sub-meters would require one
Inspector full time. This department is required under Business and
Professions Code Section<-3009 .2.1 to test electrical sub-meters at
least once every ten years.



This Grand Jury believes that the department of Weights and
Measures should have a full time inspector and the equipment to carry
on the inspection of these electric sub-meters. If no additional
personnel are granted by the Mayor and The Board of Supervisors,
we recommend that this function be given oriority with the existing
personnel, even at the expense of some of their other functions.

To neglect the inspection of these meters could cost the
citizens of San Francisco thousands of dollars in wrong meter reading,
as well as Jeopardize the safety of our citizens because of potential


The principal functions of the County Clerk, Mr. Carl M.
Olsen, are to receive, index, file and retrieve legal documents for the
Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco. These documents
also serve the needs of litigants, attorneys, and the general public.

Handwritten books of indexes are maintained with the excep-
tion of the criminal index which has been computerized.

After the various legal documents are received and stamped
filed by a deputy clerk at each of the respective divisions, the
documents are indexed; subsequently, they are filed permanently as
official records. The file folders are physically stored on the
premises for approximately nine years depending on the availability
of storage space. Storage of some of the records is being contracted
out to a storage company which solves a small part of their storage
problem. In addition, Mr. Olsen has requested budget approval for
microfilm facilities which will further alleviate the space problem.

Mr. Olsen' s staff consists of 91 people including himself
but he says he is short nine people. A new Civil Service list will
be posted in the near future which may solve this personnel shortage.
The revenue received through this department in filing fees is
approximately half of what it takes to pay the salaries of his staff.

The last Grand Jury found that the fee remittances were
improperly processed, however, since that time Mr. Olsen states that
he has corrected that problem.

Criticism had also been directed at this department principally
by Judges and attorneys in that file folders or specific documents
not in the folders were unavailable upon request. Mr. Olsen is
sensitive to the problem and states that progress has been made to
correct it.


COUNTY CLERK (continued)

The investigation of the prior Grand Jury concluded that
the individual Courtroom Clerks of the Civil Departments of the
Superior Court are needed because of the personnel shortage to provide
assistance to the County Clerk during the hours before their respective
courts convene and after the Court is adjourned. It seems that the
cooperation of the individual Superior Court Judges is one way the
County Clerk can obtain more personnel to help clear up some of the
heavy workload of this department. The Superior Court Judges should
insist that their Clerks report to the County Clerk after their duties
are completed in the courtroom.

A class has been started for the learning of courtroom
procedures for any person in this department who would like to expand
their knowledge. These two hour weekly sessions have been well
attended and Mr. Olsen was delighted with that fact because this
knowledge will be of great assistance to the function of this department.

Mr. Olsen stated that 3058 of his employees are due to retire
in the next four years. He is striving to advance the younger people
in his departmet to more responsible positions to balance the facts
of retirement losses and to provide continuity of experience.

In conclusion, Mr. Olsen is taking steps to solve the
problems experienced in his department.


The County Recorder, Mr. Thomas Kearney, is mandated by
State law as well as by City and County ordinance to receive, record,
index, and preserve papers such as property documents, tax liens,
abstracts of Judgment, certificates of death, military discharges, and
marriage licenses, and upon request to issue certified copies of them.

A true copy of the original document is reproduced and filed
permanently. The staff indexes these documents and maintains books
of record in order to facilitate their retrieval by the user. Prior
to 1973 all indexing was handwritten in several books of record;
subsequent to that date nearly all of the indexing has been transferred
on microfiche with two readers available for public use. This
procedure has consolidated all the various books of record into a
single index source which is listed alphabetically; the result is
substantial saving in labor hours, storage space, and book binding
costs, and also a more efficient retrieval of documents.

Mr. Kearney states he needs an assistant bureau chief and
a principal clerk. The department operates on a full staff of 18
people. Of the 18 people, two have retired, and two are on extended


RECORDER (continued)

sick leave, leaving 11 people. The people on sick leave or the ones
retiring were quite knowledgeable in the Recorder's duties, this
seems to leave a lack of experience within the department. The
department does need employees familiar with and trained in duties
peculiar to the Recorder's office.



The Public Administrator, Con S. Shea of the City and County
of San Francisco must take immediate charge of the property within
this county of those persons who have died when no executor or
administrator has been appointed, and consequently the property, or
any part thereof is being wasted, uncared for or lost. He is also
responsible for estates ordered into his hands by the Court. He
shall apply for letters of administration upon estates of decedents
who have no known heirs when the Superior Court of this county has
jurisdiction, and may apply for such letters in any other estates
which he is entitled to administer.

On June 30, 1976, there were 2,173 pending Public Administra-
tor probate cases. He feels that the maximum number of open cases
should be less than 800. The basic cause for this backlog problem is a
shortage of personnel. An additional problem is the present supDorting
staff is inexperienced in the details involved in probating estates.
This, in turn, causes an additional workload for the administrator
and attorneys assigned to this office. Until this department is
adequately staffed, it seems it will be Impossible to clear up the case
backlog and to process the current cases within a reasonable time.

In the future, there will be an effort made in Civil Ser-
vice Commission to more carefully evaluate employees for this kind
of position which may solve some of these problems.


The purpose of this office is to provide a public officer
to serve, when needed, as guardian of the person and/or estate. He
is appointed by the Court and he must appear for and represent the
ward in all actions or proceedings. He must manage the ward's
estate frugally and without waste and apply the income as far as
necessary taking into consideration convenience, suitable support,
and maintenance. Without the Public Guardian program some persons
declared to be Incompetent would be unable to collect welfare assistance,

-68- •


social security, and other pensions or benefits to which they are

The immediate problem in this office is the lack of adequate
clerical staff to handle the current caseload and reduce the case
backlog. The present clerical staff is inadequate for two reasons.
1. It is generally untrained and inexperienced. (Retirement and
turn-over are responsible for this situation.) 2. Due to sickness
and absenteeism only S0% of budgeted clerical staff has been consistently
available. Even some of the most knowledgeable personnel are
absent from work occasionally which areates more problems.

If present trends continue It is anticipated that the work-
load will stabilize within three to five years so that intake of
estates will balance with closed estates on a current basis. Over
the last few years there have been changes in the California Probate
Code which will affect both the volume of cases and the fees of the
Public Guardian and his attorneys.

There has been an on-gofiing program to revamp all procedures
and all forms in the office. The major change effected during this
year was a public record required by Probate Code Section 1151. This
public record was formerly a bound book of cumbersome proportions
requiring a budget expense of $500.00 per year. A more streamlined
form on 11 x 12 ledger cards has been substituted and should require
an expense of only $68.00 per year.

Some portions of the dormant files are contracted out to an
attorney who is very capable and has rendered great assistance in
clearing up some of the backlog.


The Registrar of Voters is Thomas Kearney. The funcitons
of his department are as follows:

1. Registration of voters - all citizens of the United
States who have lived in the county for at least
twenty-nine days and are at least 18 years old by
election day .

2. Dissemination of all sample ballots and handbooks to
registered voters no less than ten days prior to the

3. Hiring and training temporary precinct election
officers to supervise polling places.

^ . Renting premises for use as polling places.
5. Storing, maintaining, programming, transporting and
acquiring the voting machines and election materials.



6. Registering candidates for public office.

7. Conducting the election including counting and
tabulating ballots.

The Multilingual Election program presents problems to this
department because of the additional materials to be distributed
for the non-English speaking citizens of the City and County of
San Francisco.

This department has sufficient budget and personnel.

Mr. Kearney's knowledge of procedures in this department
was initially limited due to the fact that he had been its department
head for a short period of time. Mr. Kearney has a sincere desire
to improve many functions of the department in order to achieve a
higher level of efficiency.


The Tax Collector's office, under the direction of Mr. Thad
Brown, is responsible for collecting all local taxes, license fees,
and delinquent taxes, including statutory penalities and accrued
interest. The department has seven divisions which are Real Estate,
License, Business Taxes, Parking Meter, Delinquent Revenue, Investigations
and Cashiers.

One of the major problems of the department is in the
Delinquent Revenue Division. All uncollectible accounts from the
departments of Public Health and Public Works are transferred here
for further collection action. Additionally, in the event duplicate
checks have been issued to one person by the department of Social
Services, this division must investigate. After all collection
efforts are exhausted by this division the tax collector resorts
to court action.

There is one attorney for this division who handles an
extremely heavy case load. A total of 9,855 accounts were referred
from other departments during 197^-1975 and during 1975-1976 an
additional 13,535 accounts were referred. Vigorous collection action
disposed of approximately two-thirds of those accounts. On June 30, 1976
7,891 delinquent accounts were still outstanding and as of April 30, 1977
there were 8,680.


TAX COLLECTOR (continued)

Mr. Thad Brown had nothing but praise for his staff of
135 people. The department did seem to run very smoothly.

Mrs. Mary B. Donnelly
Francis J. Murphy

Earl L. Ellingson, Chairman



Basic functions of the Department of Public Health are:
1) overseeing medical services in an attempt to provide optimum
levels of health for all residents of San Francisco and 2) quality
medical care for those residents who are ill. The Department needs
to develop additional services, especially for the elderly, includ-
ing dental services. While these services would require additional
expenditures, the Department lacks sufficient clerical help to
efficiently provide for the collection of fees from those who are
able to pay and obtain reimbursement from Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Therefore, this Grand Jury recommends that the present procedures
be improved before new medical programs are commenced.

San Francisco General Hospital

The San Francisco General Hospital encountered a multitude
of difficulties when it moved into the new hospital facility
including plumbing stoppages, doors that failed to close, etc.
Many of these problems have been resolved and the General Contractor
is continuing to provide for the necessary adjustments. Mr. Charles
Windsor, who was selected as Administrator in May 1976, has
initiated a system of charts which enables him to exercise close
control over every-day performance.

Dr. William Blaisdel, head of surgery at San Francisco
General Hospital and Professor of Surgery at U. C. Hospital
supervises the University of California, San Francisco, operates
an undergraduate and postgraduate medical training program,
conducts research and provides the senior medical staff at the
General Hospital. In addition to teaching, the University of
California physicians are responsible for supervising the care of
all patients admitted to the hospital. Their trauma and emergency

Online LibraryCalifornia. Grand Jury (San Francisco)Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) → online text (page 7 of 32)