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Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) online

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$6.7 million.

It is appropriate at this juncture to take note of a signif-
icant contribution Mr. Boas had made in the last year. At his instiga-
tion private industry has been persuaded to offer to the City the
services of some of its employees considered experts in given areas
to form teams which have gone into selected departments (such as
Purchasing and Real Estate) to objectively analyze subject departments
and make recommendations as to improvements which could produce greater
efficiency and effectiveness aimed toward dollar savings. Companies
which have participated in this effort are Crown -Ze lie rbach, Pacific
Telephone, DelMonte Corporation, the PG&E, Coldwell -Banker, Coopers &
Lybrand, Chevron, U.S.A. and Bank of America. These organizations
and their representatives are due sincere appreciation and thanks
from all citizens of San Francisco, and Mr. Boas is to be commended
for his astuteness in instituting this procedure and his effective
persuasion in bringing about its implementation. It is to be hoped
that an even wider application of the program throughout other City
departments will be encouraged and utilized.

In light of Proposition 13 cuts there has been speculation
that the City's arts and cultural programs will suffer from short-
sighted economies. Partial support of many of these programs comes
from the City's Publicity and Advertising Fund. Some were dropped
completely. The CAO requested that the Board of Supervisors restore
this Fund to pre-Proposition 13 levels. This has been approved.

The CAO intends to continue to take an active role in plann-
ing for the top-side development of the block above the Moscone Conven-
tion Center, and a secondary role in the planning for usage of sur-
rounding property under the control of the Redevelopment Agency. How-
ever, now that the Moscone Center, the waste water management and solid
waste disposal programs have progressed substantially in the last year,
it is hoped that the CAO will turn even more of his time, energy and
considerable talents to areas which he considers of prime concern to
the City, namely, development of competent middle management in all
departments operating under his jurisdiction, the acceleration of
adoption by all departments of the new accounting system and related
problems involving EDP, City and County debt retirement, and promotion
of departmental efficiencies directed toward providing funds for
repairs to plant and capital improvements. It is this committee's
recommendation that he do so. His allocation of more of his time to
discussions with each of the department heads serving under him would
be beneficial to them as well as an effective means of aiding in the
resolution of some of the problems outlined above.



Mr. Boas has attracted to his aid in carrying out the duties
of his office a hard-working, able, well-informed and courteous staff.
He is to be congratulated for this accomplishment, and they are to
be complimented for their achievements in the administration of a
complex office.


The Department of Electricity headquartered at 901 Rankin
Street, is the vital communications branch of City services. It is
headed by Mr. Burton H. Dougherty who has been its General Manager
since 1966 and does an outstanding job in spite of the ever-increas-
ing problems occasioned mainly by budget restrictions. The depart-
ment is under the jurisdiction of the Chief Administrative Officer,
and the General Manager reports to the CAO through the Director of
Public Works. This is a change effected this year from his report-
ing to the CAO through the Manager of the Real Estate Department.
The new arrangement seems to be working satisfactorily.

The department is charged with the installation and main-
tenance of radio, electrical and wire communications systems of the
Police, Fire and Health Departments, installation and maintenance of
fire alarm boxes, parking meters and traffic signals. These services
are instituted through work orders issued to the department from
other departments.

Although the department operates efficiently and provides
good service to other departments with a minimum number of people,
there is a general feeling among all personnel that they are fall-
ing behind in general maintenance on a regular basis due to lack of
funds for adequate staffing and lack of time to accomplish repairs
as well as routine maintenance. The workload of the department
increases in direct proportion to the increased number of installa-
tions required by City growth. For instance, there are currently
15,600 parking meters in the field and the number grows. The same
situation prevails with regard to traffic signals. The operating
people currently are on a seven hour day due to budget limitations.
Neither is it possible to attract additional competent electricians
and/or machinists to fill approved but vacant positions since the
current pay scale is below what such a worker can command in private
industry .

The General Manager still attends meetings of the Disaster
Council, chaired by Mayor Feinstein, and works with the Director of
Emergency Services, Edward Joyce. The State has approved the plan
for Emergency Operations under which the 911 emergency number is
the first step. Although the Mayor has not yet applied for State



Funds to implement this operation and the Police Department has not
yet given Pacific Telephone a firm plan as to its needs, Mr. Dougherty
feels that the 911 number will be put in service within a year.

The General Manager has been advised that there is a rec-
ommendation being made to the Finance Committee of the Board of
Supervisors to eliminate the police call box system in an effort to
cut the Electricity Department budget by the amount of the main-
tenance costs of the system - some $56,000 a year. It consists of
467 call boxes on the street, ^7 located in the Hall of Justice, and
27 located outside the Hall of Justice in such places as the Fire
Chief's office, the Mayor's office, Health Department, etc. The
system is used daily not only by the Police Department, but by the
Fire, Health, Sheriff's Department and Department of Electricity.
It has consistently proven to be a valuable aid to all departments
in maintaining communication with each other, and in time of emer-
gency is a major supplemental communications system, a vital addition
at such times when the regular telephone system inevitably becomes
overloaded. It is a dependable alternate system and has often proven
its worth to all departments. Mr. Dougherty is not in agreement
that this system should be eliminated and is recommending that it be
continued. It is also the feeling of the Grand Jury that this in-
stallation should be retained.

The committee found the scope of the work performed by
this department to be impressive and it is accomplished in an out-
standing manner. A general spirit of cooperation pervades this
service group fostered by the knowledgeable administration of the
General Manager.


While the Coroner's office does an admirable job under
difficult circumstances, it appears that unless it receives adequate
City support its functioning will be severely impaired. The Coroner
and his staff have worked hard to build, and do enjoy, a reputation
for accurate, dependable and unbiased reporting which redounds to
the benefit of the City and County of San Francisco. Yet, due to
limitations being imposed upon the office by severe under-budgeting
and short -stopping, it is inevitable that this may not continue.
This is a situation which pre-dates Proposition 13 cuts.

The Coroner's office operates under the jurisdiction of
the Chief Administrative Officer. The Coroner, Dr. Boyd G. Stephens,
currently reports to the CAO through the Director of Public Health
as a means of conserving the time of the CAO. This is a change
effected this year from his reporting through the Manager of the
Real Estate Department. It is yet to be seen if this is an



improvement for either the CAO or the Coroner.

The Coroner accepts for medical examinations an average
of 2,000 cases a year; that is, the investigation of deaths open
to question in the City and County. While this is not the extent
of his duties, it is one of his primary functions. Currently, the
office is running approximately 150 cases behind in written reports
of its autopsies and four to six weeks behind in issuance of death
certificates. While this is a situation which should not be allowed
to continue, that these numbers are no greater is a credit to the
industriousness and diligence of the office given the difficulties
under which it strives to carry out its functions.

Under a new State law a dental chart on each case the
Coroner handles must be filed in Sacramento. Were it not for the
fact that the State will pay the costs of these charts, the require-
ment could not be met as there are no funds in the Coroner's budget
for such. As importantly, were it not for the work contributed by
a volunteer forensic odontologist, the work .would not be accomplished.
A retired employee contributes 4 to 7 hours office work a week.
The Coroner's office receives the benefit of an average of 200 hours
a month contributed by a dedicated and interested group of volunteers.
Every member of the staff consistently works 4 to 6 hours overtime
a week even though there is no money in the Coroner's budget at the
moment to pay for overtime. All that can be offered is compensatory
time off; however, due to short-staffing this is not a realistic
probability. Also, vacations are not presently being scheduled due
to lack of funds in the budget to replace the staff member.

A full-time taxicologist is an urgent need. The staff
presently operates with a part-time taxicologist and full-time tax-
icologist 's assistant. After a period of nine months, the position
of Administrative Coroner was filled in February. Of the 30 people
on the Coroner's staff, there are 10 investigators who are licensed
embalmers. It is the only uniformed group in the City which does
not receive a uniform allowance. The employee is required to bear
these costs personally. When it is realized that the office operates
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in fair weather and foul, these costs
are not inconsiderable. Such items as rain coats have been cut from
the budget. Even batteries for flashlights are not furnished.

Equipment in the office continues to be outdated and
undependable, impairing the capabilities of the office. A typewriter
in satisfactory working condition would be considered a boon of
inestimable value in this department, not to mention sophisticated
instrumentation essential to improved performance.

The Coroner and his staff seek every means to stretch the
limited budget of the office. To provide only a few examples of
this effort, the following are set forth: paraffin blocks (tissue



samples) are stored in dozens of cigar boxes contributed by the
concession in the Hall of Justice so filing cases will not have to
be purchased; a staff member with a flair for electronics helps to
repair instruments so that "down-time" will be shortened and costs
minimized; the Coroner helps repair equipment and routinely takes
home surgical knives and repairs them in his spare time, the depart-
ment does its own laundering of such items as surgical gowns. These
may not be the most important re source -saving devices the staff
employs but are presented here to illustrate the valiant but losing
battle the staff fights to keep the office functioning as efficiently
as possible.

The Coroner also expends time and effort seeking outside
funds through grants to supplement the capabilities of the office
and reduce costs to the taxpayers. Chemicals and materials purchas-
ed through grant funds allow the office to run some City tests along
with tests required under the grant. The National Institute of Health
this year has funded a research study in the area of Sudden Infant
Death Syndrome in the amount of $200,000. This is the only office
in the United States to receive such a grant thus far.

The Coroner also tries to improve investigative techniques
and clinical procedures for the good of the City by lecturing, attend-
ing seminars and participating in discussions at meetings of such
bodies as the University of California Medical Students, San Francisco
General Hospital Pediatrics Department, San Francisco College of
Mortuary Sciences, San Francisco Dental Society, San Francisco Depart-
ment of Public Health and more than 50 other groups. This year he
was requested to address (for the first time in six years) the students
at the Police Academy, and did so on March 23rd.

The potential of the office, however, is largely unused and
undeveloped for basic research in fields which could improve the quality
of medical and community care. Yet there are no funds provided for
training personnel to these ends. This is a disservice to the City
and County in the long view. The office is a necessary service to
the living, and its potentialities should be fully explored and devel-

Due to such reasons as the constantly expanding medical facil-
ities located in the City and the increasing older population in the
area, the workload in the Coroner's office accelerates accordingly.
Due to this as well as some of the numerous problems delineated in the
foregoing, it is increasingly improbable that qualified, competent
employees will be allocated to the office. Perhaps more importantly,
it will be increasingly difficult to retain qualified, competent
employees now in the office.

If the Mayor's recommended budget cut of 5$ is approved,
coupled with Proposition 13 cuts and the previous year's cuts, it will



mean that this department's budget will have been cut 45# in two
years. Given such a restrictive basis on which to function, it
is not reasonable nor realistic to expect that the office can
achieve its designated purpose. If it were not for the dedication
and loyalty to the office exhibited by the Coroner, Dr. Boyd G.
Stephens, his staff and the invaluable volunteers the office could
not today perform as well as it does. A lack of attention to the
needs of this department from the Mayor, the CAO and the Board of
Supervisors seems evident. Though invitations are not needed, in-
vitations have been issued to each of the City servants to visit
the office of the Coroner at any hour of the day or night any day
of the week for a personal evaluation, yet not one has found the
time nor demonstrated enough concern to inspect the facility.

By not adequately supporting this mandated office which
provides a vital service which by law cannot be dispensed with, it
appears that the City and County of San Francisco is failing to
carry out its duty, but rather is depending upon the good will and
largess of others to meet a responsibility which rightfully resides
with it.

Edith T. Griego
Vivian M. Kalil

Mildred D. Rogers, Chairman



During the term of this Grand Jury the Department of
Finance and Records administered and serviced the activities of
the Commissioner of Agriculture, Sealer of Weights and Measures,
County Clerk, Recorder, Registrar of Voters, Public Administrator,
Public Guardian and the Tax Collector. The acting Director was
Mr. Thomas Miller who was appointed by the Chief Administrative


Except for a brief period during the parking meter
collection scandal, Mr. Thad Brown has been Tax Collector of San
Francisco for nine years. The Tax Collector's Office is divided
into seven departments: Cashier, Licenses, Business Tax, Real
Estate, Investigation and Delinquent Revenues. The Tax Collector's
principal function is the collection of taxes and license fees.

The Tax Collector has aroused a great deal of attention
the last few years because of the parking meter collection scandal.
The collection is now being handled by Brinks and the Bank of
America, with a significant increase in the amount of revenue
collected. This entire matter has been given a great amount of
coverage in the news media and various persons have been in court
on charges relating to the scandal and hopefully this entire matter
is now in the past.

Over the years the staff and the workload of the Tax
Collector has grown. Part of the reasons for this growth are the
new assignments which have been directed at the Tax Collector. In
1968, the institution of the business tax generated a need for an
increased operation and more staff. More recently the Tax Collector
has been held responsible for issuance of preferential parking
stickers. The Tax Collector is also responsible for the delinquent
collection procedure for San Francisco General Hospital bills. But
for all of these income generating procedures and activities, this
department is still liable for budget cuts. This must be very hard
for the Tax Collector to understand because Mr. Brown states he can
document the fact that with a larger staff he could bring in more
money. He also feels that he could recruit better people than those
being brought in by Civil Service. It seems absurd to cut the staff
of departments which carry out procedures that generate revenue if
the director of these departments can demonstrate that increased
staffing would lead to more funds being generated.



Mr. Thomas Kearney is the Registrar of Voters and County
Recorder. The registrar of Voters is required to: Register
voters, prepare and disseminate voters' handbooks and sample
ballots, conduct the elections, and register candidates.

This Grand Jury had received a complaint that during
election day officials at various polling places were perhaps
intoxicated, drugged or just not all that efficient. Mr. Kearney
operates the Registrar of Voters with just 18 permanent people.
He must hire and train over 3,600 temporary employees to work on
election day. This appears to be a tremendous task which is per-
formed as well as could be expected. However, with all the people
hired it is almost inevitable that mistakes are bound to be made
in the hiring process. Before election day, ads are run in the
news media, recruiting workers for election day. For better
elections and better polling place workers more people in San Fran-
cisco need to offer their services for work on election day.

The County Recorder is required by State and County laws
to receive, record, index and preserve papers such as property
documents, tax liens, death certificates, military discharges and
upon request to issue certified copies of them. The Recorder's
Office has the same age old complaint that the people in this
office are overworked. With budget cuts it is difficult to remedy
this situation.


Mr. James Scannell is the Public Administrator and the
Public Guardian. As the Public Administrator he administers the
estates of those deceased persons having no executor and in some
cases administers estates as ordered by the Court. The fee for
the administration of these estates is set by the Court. His
office has a big backlog of estates, 1100 estates four years or
older when we visited him, which because of insufficient staff
he has not been able to handle.

Most of these estates are rather small monetarily. He
currently has four attorneys working in the Public Administrator's
office. This office has never been self-sufficient but Mr. Scannell
feels it should be, in fact he feels he could make money. We
believe the City government should listen to and support people
such as Mr. Scannell when they feel their departments can be self-

As Public Guardian, Mr. Scannell is appointed by the courts
to serve as guardian of persons or estates. He was legal guardian
to 385 people when we visited him. Mr. Scannell appeared to be a



very resourceful person with some new ideas for his departments.
We hope he continues with as much enthusiasm as he showed when we
visited him and would hope he gets all the support the City and
County government can supply.


The County Clerk, Mr. Carl Olsen, is the ministerial arm
and record keeper of the Superior Court. As such the Clerk's Office
receives, indexes, files and retrieves legal documents for the
Superior Court. These documents also serve the need of litigants,
attorneys and the general public. The Clerk's Office is also res-
ponsible for court clerks to the Superior Court. In this area,
Mr. Olsen feels that the Civil Service is a thorn in his side. He
believes that the Civil Service cannot determine who will be a good
court clerk and that it can only test this area superficially.


This department is under the direction of Mr. Raymond L.
Bozzini and is composed of three units:

1. Agriculture.

2. Sealer of Weights and Measures.

3. Farmer's Market.

As Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and
Measures, Mr. Bozzini is primarily involved in consumer protection.
The Agricultural Commissioner is responsible for the administration
of County, State and Federal laws which provide protection to the
consumer, the environment and the agricultural industry. An example
of the type of service is the spot-checking of fruit in retail markets.

The Sealer of Weights and Measures is responsible for seeing
that all scales and measuring devices in the County of San Francisco
show the proper net weight, measure or count. This responsibility
also extends to package goods. They must also show the correct
measure or weight.

The Sealer of Weights and Measures is also responsible
for testing the meters on taxicabs. There are 900 cabs in San Fran-
cisco so all of the meters are not tested annually, although the
meters are tested after complaints to the Police Department. Because
of budgetary problems this office has been unable to test electric
submeters in the City and County of San Francisco. Consumer pro-
tection groups in San Francisco should be alerted to this situation
since there are estimated to be 15,000 to 20,000 of these meters in
San Francisco.



The Farmer's Market is located at 100 Alemany Boulevard
and is operated by the City and County of San Francisco so that
farmers or growers can sell what they grow directly to the con-
sumer. A fee is charged to the grower for the use of a booth on
the premises. The year of 1977-78 saw the first year the Market's
operating expenses exceeded revenue. Hopefully, this will not
be a growing trend but Mr. Bozzini does not believe the Market can
continue operating as it is now.

We recommend that some sort of group be set up to study
what kind of future a Farmer's Market in San Francisco might have.
It appears that this type of market is very valuable to our area
and hopefully our Farmer's Market can be improved and developed.

Frank Harrison

William D. Kremen

Charles K. Desler, Chairman



The goal of the San Francisco Department of Public Health,
under the direction of Dr. Mervyn F. Silverman, is to ensure maximum
levels of physical and mental health in the community. To reach
this goal, each section or division of the Department is utilized.

The Grand Jury of 1977-1978 presented a detailed explanation
of each of these sections or divisions; therefore, this Jury will
only report on certain sections of the Department.

Community Public Health Services

The Public Health Programs division of the Department,
under the dedicated leadership of Dr. Lorraine Smookler, exists to
protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans. No other
agency in the community provides such public health services, yet
the budget for this section for 1979-1980 is 78% of the budget for
1977-1978. The City should set priorities regarding what are the
most important services to the people of the community. For example,
it has been said that the animals at the S.P.C.A. get more medical
care than the juveniles at Youth Guidance Center. The City also
sponsors the Civic Center Art Fair and puts red tile crosswalks on
Ocean Ave, while some of the Venereal Disease follow-up programs have
been eliminated, regardless of the fact that San Francisco has the

Online LibraryCalifornia. Grand Jury (San Francisco)Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) → online text (page 27 of 32)