City Controller Wendy Greuel loves the periodic fifteen minutes of fame she receives when announcing the results of another performance audit.
The media does not press her with questions as to the underlying causes of inefficiencies and, more importantly, how she plans to pursue them. Her public announcements are nothing more than pablum for the voters to digest in connection with her run for mayor – the campaign for which was the sole reason she ran for controller in the first place.
Greuel’s latest announcement concerning her “audit scorecard” is just another example of form over substance.
A review of the actual scorecard reveals the poor response to audits going back to late 2009 and 2010.
Dennis Zine blames the poor response on untimely information from the departments. His response to the managers is “work harder.”
Well, at least Zine is a little more forceful than Greuel, who avoids any criticism of City Hall managers’ failure to address findings.
However, both Greuel and Zine ignore the core issue underscoring the city’s abysmal efforts at dealing with inefficiencies: Mayor Villariagosa’s hands-off management style.
Issuing reports and scorecards do not solve problems; aggressive follow-up does, especially for deep-rooted situations created by incompetence. Handing off recommendations knowing that those responsible for addressing them are incapable of taking action amounts to negligence.
Greuel and Zine need to rattle the mayor’s cage. It means taking an adversarial stance in public, even if it means shining a light on the empty suit running our city. They also need to make public the names of managers who are dragging their feet on implementing recommendations. I would have no reservations if I were in their shoes – they have a responsibility to the citizens to be outspoken advocates in the same way Laura Chick was.
Of course, that might cost Greuel and Zine direct or indirect support for their respective campaigns for higher office.
The public needs to get riled. It won’t with Greuel’s policy of poor follow-up and Zine’s whining about untimely receipt of information.