UPDATE: This story has been updated with comment from WalletHub.

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – After KRON4 published an article on a WalletHub examination that found San Francisco was the worst-run city in America, the City By The Bay itself wanted to clarify why it found the findings inaccurate.

WalletHub evaluated each city’s credit rating, debt, education scores, health scores, crime rates, economy and infrastructure, and found San Francisco to be the worst-run in the nation, with Oakland coming in as the second worst. Nampa and Boise, both in Idaho, were the top two best-run, according to the finance website.

City Controller Ben Rosenfield and Chief Economist Ted Egan wrote that the methodology of the study was flawed.

“You’ve chosen to define a well-run city as one that has high scores for what you term ‘Quality of City Services,’ relative to the size of its budget. The implication is that in well-run cities, residents get high-quality services and don’t have to pay too much for them. Fair enough,” the two stated. “But very few of the of 38 indicators that make up “Quality of City Services” are under a given city’s control.”

For example, they stated that city governments per se don’t run school districts, manage county hospitals and can’t unilaterally control the poverty rate or life expectancy.

“It’s also inappropriate to benchmark public services against per-capita budget because the cost of government and residents’ ability to pay for public services both vary widely across the country,” they stated. “Local government budget as a percentage of county GDP would have been a far better measure. In 2020, San Francisco’s GDP per capita was nearly 8 times the per capita GDP of Canyon County, Idaho: home to Nampa, the top city on your list. … That fact alone should cause people to question any index that puts San Francisco near the bottom and Nampa at the top, but at the very least it highlights the problem created by your choice of metric.”

The two also stated there design issues with the survey that don’t take into consideration that San Francisco carries a lot of responsibilities cities don’t often undertake, and that it isn’t even proper to refer to it as a mere city to begin with since it is a consolidated city and county: the only one of its kind in California.

“San Francisco is among the most consolidated governments in the country – a city, a county, a transit agency, an airport, a port, and a utility district serving large swaths of the Bay Area,” Rosenfield and Egan stated. “Comparing the relative budget and debt of all of these functions to stand-alone cities like Nampa and almost all others on your list is just a false comparison, unless you were to add to their budgets their share of their county’s budget for health services they rely on, the regional transit district that runs their buses, and the utility that provides their residents with water, sewer, and power.”

San Francisco has a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, which stated “we continue to view its economic base as among the strongest in the nation despite job losses in the leisure and hospitality industry.”

Concluded Rosenfeld and Egan: “This does not sound like a description of one of the worst-run cities in the country. We hope you’ll take greater care and responsibility when producing future lists and rankings.”

WalletHub did not initially respond to a request for comment for this report, but later Thursday sent a statement to KRON4 stating “The premise of this report is that it is a city’s administration that needs to ensure sustainable development that allows for its citizens to have a good quality of life, earning opportunities and a healthy environment.”

“Granted, cities’ administrations cannot fully control those outcomes directly, but they can definitely influence them in a large measure,” Diana Polk, communications manager for WalletHub, stated to KRON4. “After all, if the administration of a city is not responsible and cannot control poverty rates or life expectancy (either directly or indirectly) then who can?”

Polk stated that the budget data was from the fiscally standardized cities database of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policies.

“Regarding debt, at the end of the day, people living in a certain city are the ones who will contribute to paying it off,” Polk stated. “The taxes they pay will be used to reimburse outstanding debt. High ratings highlight the ability of a city administration to collect taxes and repay its debt.”