Former senior deputy city attorney is steeped in government ethics and complex financial law
SAN FRANCISCO (May 7, 2018) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced today he has appointed Noreen Ambrose, an esteemed civic attorney with 35 years of legal experience, to the San Francisco Ethics Commission.
Ambrose distinguished herself during a lengthy career at the City Attorney’s Office under George Agnost, Louise Renne and Herrera before retiring in June 2017. She served as a staff attorney or chief counsel to three City commissions during six mayoral administrations, attending more than 1,000 public hearings. Ambrose has extensive experience in government ethics, public finance and complex contracts.
She replaces Judge Kevin Ryan on the Ethics Commission. Ryan resigned May 4 for family reasons. Herrera swore in Ambrose this morning at San Francisco City Hall.
“The Ethics Commission is fundamental to clean government,” Herrera said. “Noreen Ambrose is a perfect fit for this role. She is fiercely ethical, meticulous when it comes to abiding by the law, and has seen it all during her 35 years in City government. Complex financial matters are second nature to her, and she is a keen study of local government. Perhaps most importantly, she is fearless. She is not afraid to speak truth to power or hold people to account.”
“The Ethics Commission’s work is essential to ensuring the public’s trust in our local government,” Ambrose said. “I am honored to receive this appointment, and I appreciate the opportunity to return to public service in this new capacity.”
Commissioner Ambrose was appointed a deputy city attorney in 1983. Initially, she advised the City Administrator’s Office and the Planning Commission, and for the last 20 years served as General Counsel, first to the Port Commission and then the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She regularly counseled these clients on the requirements of state and local ethics law.
She handled a variety of legal assignments, including the first Mission Bay development agreement, the Port’s Waterfront Land Use Plan, the historic renovation of the landmark Ferry Building, and the recent $4.6 billion capital improvement of the dams, tunnels and pipelines of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System.
Ambrose earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a joint Juris Doctorate and Masters of City and Regional Planning from the University of California Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law.
The Ethics Commission is the city agency responsible for enforcing ethics laws and rules, including campaign finance and open government laws.
The commission has five members, one each appointed by the mayor, Board of Supervisors, city attorney, district attorney and the assessor-recorder.
Ambrose will serve the remainder of the term for the seat, which runs through Feb. 1, 2020. She will be eligible to serve one more six-year term when that term expires.