The San Francisco Ethics Commission today ratified its decision last month to uphold the official misconduct charges against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi but declined to rule yet on a request to postpone delivering its transcripts to the Board of Supervisors.
Mirkarimi’s attorneys submitted the request on Monday, arguing that the board’s vote on whether to permanently remove the sheriff from office should not take place before Nov. 6, when many of the supervisors are up for re-election and subject to political pressures.
Benedict Hur, chair of the Ethics Commission, said he would take the matter under submission and will respond soon.
Once the commission submits its transcripts to the supervisors, the board has 30 days to vote on whether to reinstate or remove the sheriff. Nine of the 11 supervisors would have to uphold the charges for Mirkarimi to be ousted from office.
The Ethics Commission was tasked with conducting fact-finding hearings in the administrative case against Mirkarimi, who was suspended without pay by Mayor Ed Lee in March following his guilty plea to a false imprisonment charge in connection with an incident in which he grabbed and bruised the arm of his wife during an argument.
The commission today unanimously voted to approve the transcripts from the hearings, as well as its findings from the last meeting on Aug. 16, when the commissioners voted 4-1 to uphold the charges against Mirkarimi, with Hur as the lone dissenter.
The commissioners also decided today to have Hur make a presentation on behalf of the panel to the supervisors after Mirkarimi’s attorney David Waggoner objected to other options.
Hur acknowledged that it could be “awkward” to represent the commission in the case since he was the only one to disagree that Mirkarimi committed official misconduct, but said, “I’ll give it my best shot.”
The date of that Board of Supervisors hearing on the case remains up in the air, pending Hur’s decision on the postponement request by Mirkarimi’s attorneys.
Mirkarimi said to reporters following today’s hearing that he was worried that the proximity of the supervisors’ vote to November’s election could create “a process that is potentially corrupted or compromised.”
He said, “If this is not political, then … delay it until after the election.”
Today’s hearing was more sparsely attended than previous hearings in the case, and only a handful of people spoke during the public comment portion of the proceedings this afternoon.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News