San Jose Elections Commission monitors compliance with all
campaign and ethics ordinances in the San Jose Municipal Code.
The Commission reviews and investigates allegations of violations
of the Code and makes recommendations for enforcement action
where appropriate. The Elections Commission also makes recommendations
to the Council with regard to campaign and ethics regulations
and policies. The San Jose Elections Commission (Commission)
is charged under Chapter 12.04 of the San Jose Municipal Code
to investigate complaints
alleging violations of Title
12 of the San Jose Municipal Code and take enforcement
action. Formal regulations
are adopted by the City Council to ensure that all interested
parties are apprised of and understand the procedures by which
a fair hearing will be conducted.
COMMISSION MEMBERSHIP: The Elections Commission is comprised of five members who are appointed by no less than a two-thirds vote of the Council. Each member must be a registered voter in the City of San Jose and have some demonstrated familiarity and experience with campaign laws. One Member shall be an attorney-at-law licensed to practice in the State of California. Membership on the Commission should be representative of the community. Members of the Commission are appointed to four-year terms and may serve a maximum of two terms.
Members of the Elections Commission may not be employed by the City; nor have any direct or substantial financial interest in any business, work or official action taken by the City. While serving on the Commission, no member can hold any other public office nor publicly endorse any candidate for City office or engage in any political or campaign activity on behalf of any candidate for City office. Further, no member can participate as a candidate in any election to public office for a period of one year before and after tenure on the Elections Commission.
APPOINTMENT PROCESS : Following posting and distribution of a Notice of Vacancy, all applications received by the deadline will be submitted to the Mayor and Council Members who will notify the City Clerk as to whom they would like to interview. Applicants receiving four or more such indications of interest will be notified and asked to appear during a regularly scheduled Council Meeting to be interviewed by the Mayor and Council Members. Following interviews, the Mayor and Council Members cast written ballots, which are read into the record by the City Clerk. Applicants must receive a two-thirds vote of Council (8 votes) to be appointed to serve on the Elections Commission.
EVALUATORS AND INVESTIGATORS:
The City’s goal and objective is to obtain
complete, thorough, and expeditious investigations and evaluations
of complaints, which are filed with the City’s Elections
Commission. The investigations and evaluations of complaints
must be conducted within the highest legal and ethical standards.
The evaluations and investigations must include in depth and
sound analysis of the facts and legal issues relating to complaints
alleging violations of the “Ethics Ordinances”
contained in Title 12 of the San Jose Municipal Code including
the City of San Jose Campaign Contribution Ordinance (Chapter
12.06 of the San Jose Municipal Code). The Commission prepares
and issues Requests for Qualifications/Quotes for an Evaluator/Investigator
in advance of the election cycle. An Evaluator must have a
legal background and experience with ethics, election or political
law. An Investigator must have experience in investigative
practices and procedures including skills in obtaining information
and facts through interview, questioning and observation.
The Evaluator/Investigator must be neutral and impartial and
must not appear to have any reason for any bias or favoritism
towards any Councilmember or candidate in any way. The evaluation
and investigation process including the report and recommendations
of the Investigator will be required to be done on an expedited
PROCESS FOR FILING AN ANONYMOUS
COMPLAINT : A complaint may be submitted anonymously
only by calling the “Elections Commission Anonymous
Complaint Hotline” at 408-975-2666 (ANON). The Complainant
must state good cause for anonymity, which is limited to (a)
a City or Redevelopment Agency employee who is not protected
by the Civil Service system making a complaint about a supervisor
in his or her chain of command; or (b) a private sector employee
making a complaint about his or her employer. The Chair of
the Commission, or the Vice-Chair, if the Chair is not available,
will assess whether there is good cause for anonymity. It
is recommended, but not required, that the Complainant provide
a telephone number for the Commissioner reviewing the call
to contact the Complainant to gather additional information
about the cause for anonymity. If the Commissioner reviewing
the call determines the Complainant has good cause for anonymity,
the complaint will be forwarded promptly to the Evaluator
by the City Clerk. If the Commissioner reviewing the call
determines that the Complainant does not have good cause for
anonymity, the complaint will not be forwarded to the Evaluator.