Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Did A California Nonprofit Receive Special Treatment?

The assistant general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is under investigation to determine her alleged role in awarding a $20,000 no-bid contract to a nonprofit she once chaired.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Juliet Ellis earns $195,000 a year for her role at the Commission. Her main job is to figure out how to implement PUC's new policies regarding environmental justice and community benefits. Ellis was formerly chair of the Oakland-based nonprofit Green for All, according to 2012 financial-disclosure documents filed with the city of San Francisco, and this has raised questions about what role she played in approving the July contract for the organization.

PUC guidelines state that administrators are allowed to take on outside work so long as they have special permission and on the condition that there is no conflict of interest.

While Ellis reportedly assured her superiors at PUC that she had no role in the approval of the contract, but an investigation by The Chronicle casts some doubt on that claim. An insider at PUC reportedly told the publication that Ellis was involved in almost every discussion regarding Green for All, and worked with them to "develop the scope of work."

PUC has suspended the Green for All contract indefinitely until the investigation by authorities is complete.

You can read the full story in The San Francisco Chronicle.

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