SF Politics 101 > SF Executive Branch
SF Politics 101 > SF Executive Branch
The SF Executive Branch
There are three parts of San Francisco’s Executive Branch: the Office of the Mayor; the Boards, Commissions, and Departments; and Arts & Culture. For the purposes of this guide, we will only include the Office of Mayor, and the Boards, Commissions, and Departments. (For further information on the Arts & Culture section of the Executive Branch, please see Article V of the San Francisco Charter.)
The Mayor is the Chief Executive Officer and the official representative of the City and County of San Francisco, and shall serve in a full-time capacity. The Mayor is not permitted to devote time or attention to any other occupation or business activity while in office.
What powers and responsibilities does the mayor have?
As the Mayor of San Francisco, they shall have responsibility for a wide variety of City and County functions. We’ve listed five of the many major responsibilities below.
- General administration and oversight of all departments and governmental units in the Executive Branch of the City and County.
- Submission of ordinances and resolutions by the Executive Branch for consideration by the Board of Supervisors.
- Presentation before the Board of Supervisors of a policies and priorities statement setting forth the Mayor's policies and budget priorities for the City and County for the ensuing fiscal year.
- Appearance, in person, at one regularly-scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors each month to engage in formal policy discussions with members of the Board.
- Introduction before the Board of Supervisors of the annual proposed budget or multi-year budget which shall be initiated and prepared by the Mayor. The Mayor shall seek comments and recommendations on the proposed budget from the various commissions, officers and department.
The Mayor also holds many powers. We’ve listed three major examples below.
- Speak and be heard with respect to any matter at any meeting of the Board of Supervisors or any of its committees, and shall have a seat but no vote on all boards and commissions appointed by the Mayor.
- Designate a member of the Board of Supervisors to act as Mayor in the Mayor's absence from the state or during a period of temporary disability.
- In the case of an emergency threatening the lives, property or welfare of the City and County or its citizens, the Mayor may direct the personnel and resources of any department, command the aid of other persons, and do whatever else the Mayor may deem necessary to meet the emergency.1
The Mayor of San Francisco has the power to appoint or reappoint a City Administrator, with confirmation from the Board of Supervisors. The appointee has a strict list of items they have to meet including at least ten years' governmental management or finance experience with at least five years at the City, County, or City and County level. The City Administrator serves a five-year term, and may be removed by the Mayor subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors.
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What does the City Administrator oversee?
- Managing the administrative services within the Executive Branch, as assigned by the Mayor or by ordinance.
- Administering policies and procedures regarding bonded or other long-term indebtedness, procurement, contracts and building and occupancy permits, and for assuring that all contracts and permits are issued and carried out in a fair and impartial manner.
- Coordinating all capital improvement and construction projects except projects solely under the Airport, Port, Public Utilities and Public Transportation Commissions.
- Preparing and recommending bond measures for consideration by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors.
- Administering, budgeting, and control of publicity and advertising expenditures.
What powers are given to the City Administrator?
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