“We’ve had four years of a press release Controller, and L.A. cannot afford a press release Mayor.”
So said City Council member and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, according to a report by KPCC. He was referring to lack of timely follow-through by Greuel on a May 2011 audit of city cell phone bills.
Garcetti said it shouldn’t take an election for Greuel to finally take some action on an old issue, but that’s her management style, in my opinion – a press release today; possible action sometime this century – when it is convenient for her benefit, not for the city’s.
However, they both missed a more important point: it was the failure of city department staff to ensure the cell plans were optimized, according to the audit.
Most operational audit findings can usually be traced to weak management or lax supervision. City Controller Greuel claims there is $160 million in waste or lost revenue opportunities, but those are estimates; not confirmed. Through her press releases, Greuel likes to suggest they are the real deal, but governments are notorious for gross optimism, so I would not put too much stock in what she says.
Let’s just say, for sake of argument, that there is some substance to the audit findings – maybe 50% of the estimate is within reason. $80 million is still a chunk of change. Then why aren’t general managers and decision makers being demoted or fired upon discovery of serious shortcomings? Why aren’t there outcries from Greuel and her allies on the City Council to replace failing or underperforming staff?
Maybe they don’t take their responsibilities seriously as long as they get elected.
Ask yourselves – if you owned a business and an audit uncovered significant waste, would you be motivated to make changes in your management staff?
It makes you wonder if all of City Hall is just one big empty press release.