SF Mayor can fire a Police Commish only with Vote by Board of Supervisors

Lee Heidhues 9.27.2022

The “Resignation” letter uproar rolls along.

Still, what The Chronicle continues to ignore is how this story began. See attached.



The Standard published The City Attorney Memo re “Resignation” letters. There’s a bit of History here. In 2003 Willie Brown was Da Mayor (In an earlier gig Breed babysat for his kids).


Anyway, in 2003 Prop H was approved by the Voters. Until then The Mayor appointed ALL Police Commissioners. He/she could fire them at Will.

Prop H passed. Now the appointments are split 4/3 between the Mayor and the Supes.

The only way a Mayor can fire an incumbent Police Commissioner is with a Vote by the Board of Supervisors. I gotta believe Prop H was put on the Ballot as a reaction to Willie’s way of governance. Breed is just following her mentor’s path.


Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 9.27.2022

The San Francisco city attorney said Tuesday that commissioners should not be asked to sign undated letters of resignation, after revelations that Mayor London required the controversial practice of several appointees.

While the policy memo said the city’s charter doesn’t ban the practice, it’s “inconsistent with the purposes underlying the Charter’s removal provisions and could threaten the independence of appointed officials from undue influence by the Mayor, the Board, and other appointing authorities.”

The memo said that appointing authorities “should not require resignation letters before or as a condition of appointment.”

96 Liz Sausage graphic 9.23.2022.jpg
The London Breed way of Governance – Keep those “Resignation” letters coming.

Critics jumped on the unsigned letters, first reported by the San Francisco Standard , arguing it showed inappropriate political micromanaging, causing Breed to reverse the policy Sunday. The mayor had asked one of her appointees to the police commission, Max Carter-Oberstone, to sign such a letter, with critics suggesting the letter could be used to oust him if he strayed from her policies. Breed’s office denies that insinuation, arguing it would have only be used if someone abandoned their duties or committed corruption.

Carter-Oberstone and Breed recently clashed over the commission’s choice of a new president.