Report 2018-120 Recommendations

When an audit is completed and a report is issued, auditees must provide the State Auditor with information regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year. Additionally, Senate Bill 1452 (Chapter 452, Statutes of 2006), requires auditees who have not implemented recommendations after one year, to report to us and to the Legislature why they have not implemented them or to state when they intend to implement them. Below, is a listing of each recommendation the State Auditor made in the report referenced and a link to the most recent response from the auditee addressing their progress in implementing the recommendation and the State Auditor's assessment of auditee's response based on our review of the supporting documentation.

Recommendations in Report 2018-120: San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission: Its Failure to Perform Key Responsibilities Has Allowed Ongoing Harm to the San Francisco Bay (Release Date: May 2019)

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Recommendations to Legislature
Number Recommendation Status
1

To improve the efficiency of the commission's current enforcement process, the Legislature should require the commission to create and implement by fiscal year 2020-21 a procedure to ensure that managers perform documented review of staff decisions in enforcement cases.

No Action Taken
2

To improve the efficiency of the commission's current enforcement process, the Legislature should require the commission to create and implement by fiscal year 2020-21 timelines for resolving enforcement cases.

No Action Taken
3

To improve the efficiency of the commission's current enforcement process, the Legislature should require the commission to create and implement by fiscal year 2020-21 a penalty matrix for applying fines and civil penalties.

No Action Taken
4

Further, the Legislature should direct the commission to begin developing regulations by fiscal year 2020-21 to define single violations and create a method of resolving minor violations through fines.

No Action Taken
5

To ensure that the commission performs its duties under state law related to the Suisun Marsh, the Legislature should require a report from the commission upon completion of its comprehensive review of the marsh program every five years, beginning with a review in fiscal year 2020-21.

No Action Taken
6

To ensure that the commission uses the abatement fund appropriately, the Legislature should clarify that the fund's intended use is for the physical cleanup of the Bay, rather than enforcement staff salaries. The Legislature should consider fully funding enforcement staff through the General Fund to align revenue sources with the commission's responsibilities.

No Action Taken
7

After the commission implements the changes noted below, the Legislature should provide the commission with an additional tool to address violations by amending state law to allow the commission to record notices of violations on the titles of properties that have been subject to enforcement action.

No Action Taken
Recommendations to San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
Number Recommendation Status
8

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 develop and implement procedures to ensure that its management adequately reviews staff enforcement decisions. These procedures should include requirements detailing how staff should document and substantiate violations, case resolutions, and their rationale for imposing fines. Further, the procedures should require staff to conduct proactive enforcement, such as site visits, as resources allow.

Pending
9

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 develop and implement procedures to ensure that staff open, investigate, and close cases in a manner that is consistent with state law and that encourages the responsible use of staff time.

Fully Implemented
10

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 develop guidance that enumerates the violation types that the commissioners deem worthy of swift enforcement action, those that staff can defer for a specified amount of time, and those that do not warrant enforcement action or that can be resolved through fines.

Partially Implemented
11

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 simplify its system for prioritizing enforcement cases, to help it focus its enforcement efforts on cases with the greatest potential for harming the Bay.

Partially Implemented
12

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 create a penalty calculation worksheet. The commission should require the worksheet's use for all enforcement actions that will result in fines or penalties, and it should create formal policies, procedures, and criteria to provide staff with guidance on applying the worksheet.

Pending
13

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 develop a procedure to identify stale cases. After applying this procedure, the commission should seek appropriate settlements for such cases that preserve or exercise the State's legal rights to resolve violations and levy penalties.

Partially Implemented
14

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 evaluate and update permit fees every five years in accordance with its regulations.

Fully Implemented
15

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 conduct a comprehensive review of local agency compliance with the marsh program and issue recommendations as necessary to implement the protections outlined in the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act.

Fully Implemented
16

To ensure that it maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its enforcement and permitting programs, the commission should by January 2020 appoint a new citizens' advisory committee as required by law and determine a schedule for the committee to conduct regular meetings.

Will Not Implement
17

To ensure that it uses the abatement fund for the physical cleanup of the Bay, the commission should create a policy by January 2020 identifying the minimum amounts it will disburse and prioritizing the projects that it will support through disbursements to the appropriate entities.

Will Not Implement
18

To build on prior recommendations and ensure that it maximizes the effectiveness of its enforcement program, the commission should by January 2021 conduct a workforce study of all its permit and regulatory activities and determine whether it requires additional staff, including supervisors, to support its mission.

Pending
19

To build on prior recommendations and ensure that it maximizes the effectiveness of its enforcement program, the commission should by January 2021 implement a permit compliance position to support the efforts of enforcement staff and the implementation of process changes. If necessary, it should seek additional funding for such a position.

Pending
20

To build on prior recommendations and ensure that it maximizes the effectiveness of its enforcement program, the commission should by January 2021 update its existing database or create a new database to ensure that it can identify and track individual violations within each case, including the date staff initiate the standardized fines process for each violation. As part of this process, the commission should review its database and update it as necessary to ensure that it includes all necessary and accurate information, specifically whether staff initiated the standardized fines process for open case files and for those case files closed within the past five years.

Pending
21

To ensure consistency in its enforcement program, the commission should by January 2021 create and implement regulations that identify required milestones and time frames for enforcement.

Pending
22

To ensure consistency in its enforcement program, the commission should by January 2021 create and implement regulations that define substantial harm, provide explicit criteria for calculating the number of violations present in individual enforcement cases, and specify a process to handle any necessary exceptions to the criteria.

Pending
23

To ensure consistency in its enforcement program, the commission should by January 2021 create and implement regulations to allow it to use limited monetary fines to resolve selected minor violations that do not involve substantial harm to the Bay.

Pending
24

To ensure consistency in its enforcement program, the commission should by January 2021 update its regulations on permit issuance to offer greater clarity on the types of projects for which staff may issue permits without commissioners' hearings.

Pending


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