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City and County of San Francisco
Municipal Transportation Agency
Citizens’ Advisory Council (SFMTA CAC)

Regular Meeting Minutes

Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.
1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3074
San Francisco, California

1. Call to Order / Roll Call
Vice Chairman Steve Ferrario called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. 

SFMTA CAC members present at roll call:  Mary Burns, Joan Downey, Steve Ferrario, Griffith Humphrey, Greg Riessen, Norman Rolfe, Janel Sterbentz, Dorris Vincent, Daniel Weaver, Ruth Wheeler and Jamison Wieser

SFMTA CAC members absent:  Art Cimento and Cesar Perez

Chairman Daniel Murphy arrived at 5:37 p.m.

2. Adopt minutes of June 4, 2009: 

On motion to adopt the minutes of June 4: Adopted
Ayes – Burns, Downey, Ferrario, Humphrey, Murphy, Riessen, Rolfe, Sterbentz, Vincent, Weaver, Wheeler and Wieser
Absent – Cimento and Perez

3. Public Comment concerning any issue within the jurisdiction of the Council and not noted on the agenda:  none

4. Report of the Chairman: Daniel Murphy

Chairman Murphy stated that several software developers, who provided user-friendly transit information to Smart Phone and I-Phone users by utilizing NextBus data, were being ordered to desist. is owned by NextBus Inc., whereas is owned by the SFMTA.  Since NextMuni data is public information, developers can use the data as they wish.  Chairman Murphy asked staff for clarification regarding who owns NextBus information. 

5. Election of Chairman (Discussion/Action)

Dorris Vincent moved to nominate Daniel Murphy as chairman.

On motion to elect Daniel Murphy as chairman: Adopted
Ayes – Burns, Downey, Ferrario, Humphrey, Murphy, Riessen, Rolfe, Sterbentz, Vincent, Weaver, Wheeler and Wieser
Absent – Cimento and Perez

6. Election of Vice Chairman (Discussion/Action)

Dorris Vincent moved to nominate Steve Ferrario as vice chairman.

On motion to elect Steve Ferrario as vice chairman: Adopted
Ayes – Burns, Downey, Ferrario, Humphrey, Murphy, Riessen, Rolfe, Sterbentz, Vincent, Weaver, Wheeler and Wieser
Absent – Cimento and Perez

7. Staff Report (Discussion)

The staff report was provided.

Steve Ferrario asked for more information regarding a delay at 9:30 a.m. on June 5 at the Saint Francis Circle due to an ATCS failure.  The incident was not listed in the Daily Operations report nor the staff report. 

Joan Downey asked for information about the June 20 cable car delay due to a disabled limousine stalled on the tracks for almost two hours.

Jamison Wieser stated that staff reports should include the number of subsequent runs hindered by the delays. 

8. Catastrophic Loss Insurance Coverage (Discussion/Action) Sonali Bose

Sonali Bose, chief financial officer/director, Finance and Information Technology, provided an overview of the risk management presentation that was presented to the Board. Presently, the SFMTA is self-insured. Insurance companies are heavily impacted by the economic crisis and are unwilling to insure new clients. The sole bid received for catastrophic loss insurance coverage was from a joint venture of the American Merchants Casualty Company and the Everest National Insurance Company for coverage limit of $25 million.  The options quoted were a premium of $1.9 million with a $10 million deductible or a premium of $2.4 million with a$5 million deductible. Within the past decade, only one case has qualified for such coverage. The City Attorney wishes to include language in the policy to maintain its authority, as defined by the Charter, to defend the SFMTA and the Board’s authority to settle. There are three issues for the Board’s consideration:  1) If the SFMTA were to purchase insurance, would the insurers accept modification to the policy acknowledging the authority of the City Attorney  2) Would the policy provide adequate coverage for the SFMTA; and  3) Where would the SFMTA get funds to pay the premium.

While the coverage has been bound, the final placement of the insurance is subject to SFMTA Board action on July 14 and the City Attorney’s approval of the endorsement language.

Public Comment

David Pilpel stated that the SFMTA manages risk.  The likelihood of a catastrophic event is minute.  Only the insurers would benefit from such coverage.  He recommends that the Board not proceed with the purchase.  The Board should pursue other ways of managing risk.  Prior to the 1982 and the 1984 cable car accidents, the PUC’s Bureau of Claims and Contracts unit was responsible for claims adjustments and contract functions.  Mr. Pilpel stated that Peter Straus is retiring.  He has been a huge asset to the SFMTA.  Mr. Pilpel encouraged the CAC to draft a resolution honoring Mr. Straus.

Dan Weaver stated that a risk assessment is needed.  The June 2009 Washington D.C. train accident is motivation.  The single multi-million dollar case awarded against the SFMTA involved a non-revenue vehicle.

Chairman Murphy stated that should a catastrophic event occur, the liability coverage would be capped at $25 million.  The SFMTA would still need to ask the City for financial assistance.  Under California law, any municipal agency has the right to pay out verdicts over a ten year period.  The SFMTA does not have the power to cut the City Attorney out of the claims process. 

Chairman Murphy moved the following recommendation:

Motion: 090709.01

WHEREAS, The proposed insurance policy would cover liability event values between $5,000,000 and $25,000,000; and,

WHEREAS, Such incidents have been extremely rare in the history of the SFMTA; and,

WHEREAS, The law provides that government entities may pay liability judgments over a period of ten years; and,

WHEREAS, It is generally rational for an entity to self-insure for amounts it can afford to pay; and,

WHEREAS, The maximum benefit of $20,000,000 would represent $2,000,000 per year for ten years, an amount that the SFMTA and the City should be able to self-insure against; and,

WHEREAS, A source of funds has not been identified for payment of the proposed premium; and,

WHEREAS, All claims against the SFMTA are effectively claims against the City and County of San Francisco; and,

WHEREAS, The City Attorney defends the City and County of San Francisco, including the SFMTA, against all such claims; and,

WHEREAS, The proposed policy would provide relatively little coverage for the SFMTA against claims arising from large catastrophic events with values in excess of $25,000,000; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA Board of Directors not proceed with the purchase of liability insurance in FY10, and that the Board reconsider the purchase of liability insurance in the future when the premiums for such insurance are more favorable; and that the Board direct the Executive Director to conduct further risk assessment measures and report back to the Board and the SFMTA CAC on the progress of such measures.

On motion that the Board not proceed with the purchase of catastrophic loss insurance coverage: Adopted
Ayes – Burns, Downey, Ferrario, Humphrey, Murphy, Riessen, Rolfe, Sterbentz, Vincent, Weaver, Wheeler and Wieser
Absent – Cimento and Perez

9. Committee Reports: 

Dan Weaver stated that on July 15, the EMSC will discuss the Saint Francis Circle tracking project and the stroller policy.  He also stated that at the June meeting, the EMSC discussed screeching tracks.  Staff is pursuing funding to purchase automatic greasing systems.

10. Council Members’ Questions and Comments: (Discussion)

Joan Downey stated that since the Recreation and Park Department, the de Young Museum and the California Academy of Science have been running bus service provided by Bauer Limousine, the SFMTA should discontinue the 74X service.  Chairman Murphy will discuss the matter with the SFMTA Board.  Ms. Downey stated that she observed a customer being asked to pay supplemental fare with his medal token.  What is the policy regarding medal tokens?

Norm Rolfe asked regarding the SFPD Traffic Company reporting to Mr. Ford or to Deputy Chief Parra.  Chairman Murphy stated that Captain Gregory Corrales reports to Deputy Chief Antonio Parra.  Chairman Murphy stated that the SFMTA will be establishing a graveyard shift of parking control officers to respond to calls for enforcement, rather than the SFPD.

Jamison Wieser spotted three officers riding the F-Market line.  Ms. Downey stated that Deputy Chief Parra is ordering personal Translink cards for officers to capture police activity on Muni vehicles.

Mr. Ferrario wanted more information on the F-line incident listed under accidents on the July 8 Daily Operations report regarding a motorman who departed from the Geneva Yard without the conductor.

11. Agenda Planning for the Next Regular Meeting Tentatively Scheduled:

Next regular meeting:  Thursday, August 6, 2009, at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3074, at 5:30 p.m.

12. Adjournment:  The meeting was adjourned at 7:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Debra J. Reed
SFMTA CAC - Secretary


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