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San Francisco removes white election director as part of its ‘racial equality plan’

The San Francisco election director, in office since 2002, will have his contract terminated in a move that was “not about performance” but about “racial equality.”

John Arntz, who is white, will be fired from his position next year, the San Francisco Election Commission decided last week in a 4 to 2 decision.

The decision to get rid of Arntz was “in large part motivated by the city’s plan for racial equality” — as the city strives to make workplaces more diverse.

However, it was Arntz himself, as department director, who helped create such plans that ultimately cost him his job.

According to the Elections Department’s website, the Racial Equality Action Plan was “developed through collaboration” with Arntz.

City officials decided not to offer him a fifth five-year contract, despite widespread praise from colleagues for his tenure as election director.

Cynthia Dai, a member of the committee who voted to impeach Arntz, told the Washington Free Beacon, “It’s hard to meet diversity goals when senior positions never become available.

“This has nothing to do with his performance,” said Dai, who voted against his extension.

“It was time to open up this feature to a more diverse field,” Mission Local reports.

Elections director John Arntz – who has been in office since 2002 – will not get a contract extension next year over ‘racial equality’ concerns

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Arntz had served “with integrity, professionalism and has remained completely independent”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed defended Arntz, telling Mission Local, “John Arntz has served San Francisco with integrity and professionalism and has remained completely independent.

“He has remained impartial and avoided getting entangled in the web of city politics, which we are now seeing as a result of this unnecessary vote.

“Instead of working on key issues to repair and rebuild our city, this is a great example of unfair politicization of an important part of our government that works well for the voters of this city.”

Arntz’s contract expires in May next year, but he can still choose to reapply. It is the first time since 2002 that the election commission has chosen not to renew the position and to look for new candidates.

Chris Jerdonek (pictured), the committee's chairman, told Arntz in an email that the decision was unrelated to his achievements over the past 20 years

Chris Jerdonek (pictured), the committee's chairman, told Arntz in an email that the decision was unrelated to his achievements over the past 20 years

Chris Jerdonek (pictured), the committee’s chairman, told Arntz in an email that the decision was unrelated to his achievements over the past 20 years

Chris Jerdonek, appointed board member

Chris Jerdonek, appointed board member

Renita LiVolsi, appointed public defender

Renita LiVolsi, appointed public defender

Chris Jerdonek (left), board member. Renita LiVolsi (right), public defender’s appointee

Cynthia Dai, appointed city attorney

Cynthia Dai, appointed city attorney

Robin Stone, District Attorney

Robin Stone, District Attorney

Cynthia Dai (left), appointed city attorney. Robin Stone (right), District Attorney

As election director, Arntz has led county and city elections for 20 years. This move came just eight days after the November 8 midterm elections.

City attorney David Chiu said he was “baffled” by the commission’s decision, saying “some people have forgotten the history of this department.”

“Before Director Arntz, we had five directors in as many years, ballot boxes floating in the bay and a great lack of confidence in the municipal elections,” he told Mission Local.

Arntz was told in an email by Commission Chairman Chris Jerdonek: “Our decision wasn’t about your performance, but after 20 years, we wanted to take action on the city’s racial equality plan and give people the opportunity to fight for a leading position. ‘

Cynthia Dai, a member of the committee who voted against Arntz’s renewal, said “it’s hard to meet diversity goals if senior roles never open up”

A man is seen at the Department of Elections casting his ballot at San Francisco City Hall.  The commission's move came about eight days after the Nov. 8 midterm elections

A man is seen at the Department of Elections casting his ballot at San Francisco City Hall.  The commission's move came about eight days after the Nov. 8 midterm elections

A man is seen at the Department of Elections casting his ballot at San Francisco City Hall. The commission’s move came about eight days after the Nov. 8 midterm elections

The Four Awake Voters Who Kicked Arntz Out For ‘Racial Diversity’

Chris Jerdonek

Board member appointed

Renita Li Volsi

Appointed prosecutor

Cynthia Dai

Appointed city attorney

Robin Stone

DA’s office appointee

In 2021, the Election Commission wrote to the mayor that the election had gone well, saying, “San Francisco is hosting one of the best elections in the country and we believe this transparent process has enabled us to continue to improve our elections.”

A year earlier in 2020, it wrote a compliment to Arntz for his ‘incredible leadership’.

Division manager Mayank Patel wrote an email to the department without Arntz’s knowledge, Mission Local reported. It contained a letter signed by 11 other division managers outlining why they supported his extension.

“Under Director Arntz’s leadership, our department has successfully conducted more than 30 public elections and built public confidence in the city’s election processes from the ground up,” Patel wrote.

Another official, District 2 supervisor Catherine Stefani, said on Twitter that the decision was “a dereliction of duty by the Commission.”

If Arntz is still the most qualified candidate after a competitive search, Dai said he will have his contract extended.

According to the Free Beacon, a divide has developed in San Francisco between elected officials and unelected bureaucracies where progressive identity politics has progressed more quickly.

It suggests the city’s “racial equality plan” — which the Election Commission cited to support their decision regarding Arntz — was created by the same elected officials who are now criticizing the decision not to renew him.

City attorney David Chiu said he was “baffled” by the decision

A voting board outside San Francisco City Hall

A voting board outside San Francisco City Hall

A voting board outside San Francisco City Hall

District 2 supervisor Catherine Stefani, said on Twitter that the decision was 'a dereliction of duty by the Commission'

District 2 supervisor Catherine Stefani, said on Twitter that the decision was 'a dereliction of duty by the Commission'

District 2 supervisor Catherine Stefani, said on Twitter that the decision was ‘a dereliction of duty by the Commission’

Council appointee Jerdonek, city attorney appointee Dai, district attorney appointee Robin Stone, and public defender appointee Renita LiVolsi voted not to renew Arntz’s contract.

Mayor-appointed Nancy Crowley and treasurer-appointed Lucy Bernholz voted in favor of his stay.

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