Op-Ed: How to reform L.A. City Hall to avoid future corruption and scandal
The LA City Council on Monday advanced a measure to overhaul how a majority of the council oversees the city’s municipal budget.
As I write this, the City Council is discussing a motion to amend the city charter to force the mayor and city manager to create a new council office to oversee City Hall. That office — the Mayor and City Manager Council Office — has been created by the charter since the 1970s, but has never been funded. The measure would direct that the city manager create a new council office to oversee the operations of City Hall, including managing department budgets, approving operating budgets, approving grants, and managing the city’s legal issues. Mayor Villaraigosa, who has previously said he doesn’t want his role as mayor to be a role at City Hall, would appoint the council’s chief financial officer as the new budget director in that office.
The city council is also considering three other measures:
* Proposing that the city charter be amended to remove the city manager’s power to hire or fire city employees, which is one of the reasons he is hesitant about letting the mayor appoint the head of the city manager’s council office. The city charter currently allows the mayor “to act as the chief administrative officer of the City and to perform such other duties as may be conferred upon him by law.”
* Proposing that the city charter be amended to remove the chief financial officer’s role as the head of the city’s finances and to have the chief financial officer instead serve as the city’s chief financial officer. Mayor Villaraigosa has said the chief financial officer should be a “financial expert to assist the mayor with the day-to-day management of finances. He must not be the person responsible for maintaining the city’s financial records and he must not have any direct involvement in the management of the city’s finances.”
* Proposing that the city charter be amended to remove the chief legal officer