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Government of San Francisco

The government of the City and County of San Francisco utilizes the "strong mayor" form of mayoral/council government, composed of the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, several elected officers, and numerous other entities. It is the only consolidated city-county in California, and one of only thirteen charter counties of California.[1] The fiscal year 2007–08 city and county budget was approximately $6 billion.


  • Organization 1
    • Mayor 1.1
    • Board of Supervisors 1.2
    • Other elected officers 1.3
    • Departments and agencies 1.4
  • Finance 2
    • Taxes 2.1
    • Budget 2.2
  • Law 3
  • Other governments 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


San Francisco utilizes the "strong mayor" form of mayoral/council government, composed of the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, several elected officers, and numerous other entities. San Francisco voters use ranked-choice voting to elect the Mayor, Supervisors, and other elective officers.[2]


The George Moscone in 1978.

Board of Supervisors

The legislative body is composed of the 11-member Board of Supervisors which acts as both a board of supervisors and a city council, with "[a]ll rights and powers of a City and County which are not vested in another officer or entity" by the charter.[4] The Board of Supervisors is headed by a President and is responsible for passing laws and budgets. The members of the Board of Supervisors are elected as representatives of specific districts within the city.[5]

Other elected officers

In addition, there are other city-wide elected officers of San Francisco:[6]

Departments and agencies

Entities under the authority of the Board of Supervisors include the:[7][8]

Entities under the authority of the [7]

  • Adult Probation

Entities under the authority of the City Administrator include the:[7]

Independent and semi-independent entities include the:[7]

  • Board of Appeals
  • Building Inspection Commission
    • Department of Building Inspection
  • Child Support Services
  • Controller
  • Elections Commission
    • Department of Elections
  • Entertainment Commission
  • San Francisco Ethics Commission
  • Health Service System
  • Planning Commission
    • Planning Department
  • San Francisco Police Commission
  • Small Business Commission
    • Office of Small Business
  • Redevelopment Agency
  • Treasure Island Development Authority

Other entities and programs include:

  • 311 Customer Service Center


  • Access Appeals Commission
  • Animal Control and Welfare Commission
  • Asthma Task Force


  • Back Streets Business Advisory Board
  • Ballot Simplification Committee
  • Bicycle Advisory Committee
  • Biosciences Task Force
  • Board of Supervisors
  • Budget Analyst's Office
  • Building Inspection SRO Task Force, Department of


  • Citizens' General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee
  • City Administrator, Office of
  • City Attorney
  • City College of San Francisco
  • City Hall Preservation Advisory Commission
  • Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs, Office of
  • Civil Grand Jury
  • Code Advisory Commission
  • Committee On Information Technology



  • Examiners, Board of


  • Film Commission



  • Historic Preservation Commission
  • Housing Authority


  • Immigrant Rights Commission


  • Jury Commissioner (Jury Duty)



  • Labor Standards Enforcement, Office of
  • Library Citizens Advisory Committee
  • Local Homeless Coordinating Board


  • Marijuana Offenses Oversight Committee
  • Medical Cannabis Task Force


  • Non-Profit Contracting Task Force



  • Power Plant Task Force
  • Presidio Neighborhood Representative Work Group
  • Presidio & CCSF Transportation Work Group
  • Public Finance, Office of



  • Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Trust Fund Committee
  • Redistricting Task Force
  • Relocation Appeals Board


  • San Francisco Fair Lending Working Group
  • School District, San Francisco Unified
  • SFGovTV - Cable TV (Government Access)
  • Shelter Monitoring Committee
  • Southeast Community Facility Commission
  • State Legislation Committee



  • Unreinforced Masonry Appeals Board
  • Utility Undergrounding Task Force


  • Veterans' Affairs Commission
  • Voting Systems Task Force


  • Western SoMa Citizens Planning Task Force




  • Zoo, San Francisco
  • Zoo Committee, Joint



As of November 2010, San Francisco's sales tax rate was 9.5%,[11] distributed as follows:

  • 8.25% - State[12]
    • 6.00% - State - General Fund
    • 0.25% - State - Fiscal Recovery Fund
    • 0.50% - State - Local Revenue Fund
    • 0.50% - State - Local Public Safety Fund
    • 1.00% - Bradley-Burns Uniform Local Tax Law
      • 0.25% - Local County - Transportation funds
      • 0.75% - Local City/County - Operational funds
  • 0.50% - Local/regional transportation
    • Proposition B (1989) - 1989-2009: SF County Transportation Authority (60% transit including San Francisco Municipal Railway, 30% street and traffic safety, 8% paratransit, 2% transportation system management.[14]
    • Proposition K (2003) - 2009-2034: Different formula for local streets and local and regional public transit.[13]


The fiscal year 2007-08 city and county budget is as follows:[16]

Category Revenue Ratio
Charges for services $1,808 M 29.7%
Property taxes $1,186 M 19.5%
State $707 M 11.6%
Other local taxes $588 M 9.7%
Federal $360 M 5.9%
Business taxes $350 M 5.8%
Rents and concessions $349 M 5.7%
Fund balance from 2006–07 $239 M 3.9%
Fines and forfeitures $105 M 1.7%
Interest and investment income $84 M 1.4%
Licenses, permits, and franchises $36 M 0.6%
Reserves drawdown $23 M 0.4%
Other $244 M 4.0%
Total $6,079 M 100%
Category Expenditures Ratio
Personnel $3.083 B 50.4%
Non-personnel operating costs $1.438 B 23.7%
Debt service $576 M 9.5%
Capital and equipment $335 M 5.5%
Grants $272 M 4.5%
Aid assistance $271 M 4.5%
Reserves and fund balance $69 M 1.1%
Facility maintenance $35 M 0.6%
Total $6,079 M 100%
Category Personnel Ratio
Public Works, Transportation, and Commerce 8,798 31.5%
Public Protection 6,566 23.5%
Public Health 6,196 22.2%
General Administration and Finance 2,317 8.3%
Human Welfare and Neighborhood Development 2,125 7.6%
Culture and Recreation 1,883 6.8%
Total 27,885 100%


The government of the City and County of San Francisco is defined by the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco, which is similar to the other counties of California. Pursuant to its charter, San Francisco causes to be published several codified version of its ordinances and regulations, the San Francisco Municipal Codes. Every act prohibited or declared unlawful, and every failure to perform an act required, by the ordinances are misdemeanor crimes, unless otherwise specified as infractions.[17][18]

San Franciscans also make use of direct ballot initiatives to pass legislation.

San Francisco's municipal authority extends beyond city/county limits through its operation of the San Francisco International Airport and the vast tracts of land supporting the Hetch Hetchy Water System.

Other governments

In addition, several regional governmental units in San Francisco operate independently of the municipal government. Five regional agencies—the Association of Bay Area Governments, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Bay Conservation and Development Commission—have jurisdiction over San Francisco and the other Bay Area counties, and San Francisco appoints representatives to their governing boards.

There are several school districts that are co-extensive with San Francisco. The San Francisco Unified School District is governed by the elected seven-member San Francisco Board of Education. The community college district of the City College of San Francisco is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Trustees.

Several transit agencies provide transit service within San Francisco and adjacent counties, including the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), of which residents elect Board of Directors for districts 7, 8, and 9, Golden Gate Transit, Caltrain, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Also notable are the independent police forces of the University of California, San Francisco and the Park Police of the Presidio Trust and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The San Francisco Democratic Central Committee (SFDCC), the governing body of the San Francisco Democratic Party, is a county central committee of the California Democratic Party for San Francisco. The SFDCC is elected from the two Assembly districts in San Francisco and consists of 24 members, with a 14/10 member split between the two Assembly districts based on number of registered Democrats.[19][20]

See also


  1. ^ Baldassare, Mark (1998). When Government Fails: The Orange County Bankruptcy.  
  2. ^ "Ranked-Choice Voting". City and County of San Francisco, Department of Elections. Retrieved August 8, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b City and County of San Francisco Municipal Code art. III
  4. ^ Charter of the City and County of San Francisco, article 1, section 1.101
  5. ^ "Board of Supervisors District Information". City and County of San Francisco, Board of Supervisors. Retrieved January 29, 2006. 
  6. ^ Charter of the City and County of San Francisco, article 6, section 6.100
  7. ^ a b c d "City's Organizational Chart". Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Board of Supervisors: Divisions". Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Clerk of the Board". Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  10. ^ "Office of the Legislative Analyst". Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Detailed Description of the Sales and Use Tax Rate - Board of Equalization
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ California Government Code § 25132.
  18. ^ California Government Code § 36900 et seq.
  19. ^ California Elections Code § 7204
  20. ^ San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee Bylaws, 23 January, Article 2, § 1(a)(1)

External links

  •, official site of City and County of San Francisco
  • San Francisco Voter Pamphlets and Propositions dating back to 1907 at the San Francisco Public Library
  • San Francisco Charter and Municipal Codes from American Legal Publishing
    • San Francisco Decoded (unofficial Charter and Municipal Codes) from the OpenGov Foundation
  • San Francisco Data
  • "San Francisco". U.S. City Open Data Census. UK:  
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