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The Good Government Guide

The official flag of the City and County of San Francisco
The official flag of the City and County of San Francisco

“As public officials, we have no higher obligation than to conduct the functions of San Francisco government in a manner that is honest, open to scrutiny and responsive to the people we serve,” City Attorney Herrera said when he introduced his office’s Good Government Guide more than ten years ago. Since then, the Good Government Guide has become a go-to resource for city officials and employees—as well as journalists and activists—offering a usable, accessible overview of major laws governing public meetings, public records, conflicts-of-interest, and financial reporting requirements for city officials. It is regularly updated, on an as-needed basis, to promptly reflect changes in relevant law.

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A caveat for our city clients

The City Attorney’s Office is ethically and legally prohibited from representing private parties, of course, and we’re similarly unable to provide members of the public with legal advice. For the clients we represent (meaning city officials, appointed commissioners, department heads and employees) we offer one important caveat about the Good Government Guide: no publication can substitute for the counsel of an attorney on the application of laws to specific circumstances. The Good Government Guide is intended to be a helpful general reference. But when city officials and staff have questions about their legal obligations in certain situations, we urge them to contact the Deputy City Attorney assigned to their department or commission.