San Francisco Planning Director Says Employee Offering Him Free Place to Live Played No Part in Her Promotion

While gestures of extreme kindness toward the boss may not earn one raises or promotions — they usually can't hurt. Last year, after Planning Director John Rahaim was famously burned out of the the Dennis T. Sullivan Memorial Fire Chief's Home, longtime city planner Kelley Amdur offered him a rent-free stay in a condo owned by her father — and he accepted. Last week, Rahaim, who says he lived in the condo for about a month, announced Amdur had been promoted to Director of Neighborhood Planning.

A source within the Planning Department told SF Weekly that “it went around the department that the building John was in was owned by Kelley's parents.” A number of workers — apparently mistakenly —  believe that Rahaim is still living there.

The planning director told SF Weekly that he has since relocated, and added that his sojourn in the condo was not a factor in his decision to promote Amdur: “She's excellent at what she does, she's been in the department for 10 years, and she's highly regarded with the folks in the community.” Amdur, whose voicemail message says she is out of town, could not be reached for comment.

Within inter-office e-mails between city planners obtained by SF Weekly

and in follow-up interviews, department employees and those familiar

with the department referred positively to Amdur as “capable” — but were

puzzled by the lack of disclosure.

Rahaim said he “was not aware I needed to” disclose the apartment stay — though he subsequently called back and noted that he had been informed that he is required to make the disclosure. He promised to do so by the end of the month on his Statement of Economic Interest form, housed at the Ethics Commission.

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