I use a term when I am discussing business with colleagues, staff or clients. It is “serious stuff” and I employ it if the subject matter is controversial, eye-opening or impactful.
While I have no idea if Ron Galperin has a similar term, he understands the meaning.
His hard-hitting audits have targeted real cash drains. Just this year we have learned about Workers comp mismanagement and abuse costing the city around $28-million per year; Department of Transportation excessive and unauthorized use of overtime to the tune of $3.3-million per year; exposing the culture of corruption at the IBEW Local 18’s non profit trusts purportedly established to promote safety – the combined entities that have been siphoning $4-million per year, for over 10 years, from the city’s general fund.
These are not fuzzy, hypothetical estimates of inefficiencies. They represent hard, unrecoverable costs which will continue if the City Council and Mayor do not follow through on the audit report recommendations.
Galperin has also made it possible for almost anyone to search the city’s financial records. It is a very easy search, too. For just $100,000 and a few months of time, he oversaw and directed the design and implementation of the Control Panel. In all of my years in the finance and accounting field, I have never seen such a powerful and user-friendly database developed in so short a time and for so little.
It’s hard to imagine that someone believes Galperin is “grandstanding” to advance a political career. That’s what former City Councilman Dennis Zine, a shill for union boss Brian D’Arcy and his operatives, thinks.
If Galperin is grandstanding, then every elected official should drink whatever the controller is pouring and do some grandstanding of their own.
It makes you wonder just what Galperin’s predecessors were doing with their time in the office. Even Laura Chick, who we fondly remember as a critic of Mayor Villaraigosa’s manipulation of a tax to fund a thousand new officers, missed the most egregious, ongoing financial irregularities. The very same disgraceful conditions Galperin is reporting were occurring on her watch. Her heart was in the right place, but, with all due respect, she lacked the technical skills required to effectively manage and prioritize audits, or the analytical acumen to evaluate information. She was a politician first and foremost, without an ounce of geek in her blood.
What about Greuel? Just read my past columns.
Zine was obviously drinking D’Arcy’s Kool Aid when serving on the City Council. He praised the IBEW-friendly DWP contract rushed through in 2009 .
To be frank, it takes some grandstanding to get the attention of the officials and public in this town. Issuing a scathing audit report is one thing; assuring it is in the public view is another. No one has put the City Controller’s office on center stage as well as Galperin.
If our elected officials do not act to end the abuse, then the public can use the reports to punish them at the polls. I’m not expecting anything resembling a revolution, but there could be a couple of incumbents who may have to sweat. We saw a few incumbents and LaBonge’s hand-picked lackey bite the dust on May 19th.