The format was finalized Tuesday for the upcoming hearing at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on whether suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi can keep his job.
Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay in March after his guilty plea to misdemeanor false imprisonment in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he grabbed and bruised his wife’s arm during an argument.
Mirkarimi has the right under the city charter to contest the suspension at the city’s Ethics Commission, which has held several hearings in the case and is expected on Aug. 16 to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on whether to permanently oust him from office.
The board had initially proposed to allow the Ethics Commission to make a 20-minute presentation on its recommendation, but reduced that to 10 minutes after Mirkarimi’s attorney David Waggoner protested at today’s meeting.
Waggoner said the commission would “advocate for what is ultimately a political decision,” and that “it has the appearance of impropriety.”
Two supervisors, David Campos and John Avalos, initially proposed to remove all 20 minutes of the presentation by the Ethics Commission and to just have its representative answer questions from the board about the written recommendation.
“It’s sufficient to have before us a document that can engage us in discussion,” Avalos said.
However, several other supervisors disagreed, saying they wanted to hear how the Ethics Commission made its decision.
“We want to make sure the Ethics Commission doesn’t use their time to argue, that they’re simply laying out the facts,” board president David Chiu said. “If we don’t give the Ethics Commission any time and start peppering them with questions, it will appear to be a bit uncontextual.”
The board then unanimously agreed to reduce the allotted time to 10 minutes, which will be followed by 20 minutes each of arguments from the city attorney’s office, which is representing the mayor, and Mirkarimi’s attorneys, as well as a five-minute response by the city attorney to the sheriff.
Following public comment, the board will then deliberate and make its final decision.
The date for the board’s hearing on the matter has not been determined. Today’s meeting was the supervisors’ last before their annual August recess. They will reconvene on Sept. 4.
Mirkarimi served for seven years on the board before being elected sheriff in November and taking office on Jan. 8.
He was sentenced to three years’ probation and other penalties following his guilty plea in March.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News