Do Public Servants in Los Angeles Really Serve the Public?


In America, government exists to serve the people — to do for the people what they can’t do for themselves. Thus, the City funds 34 departments, bureaus, and offices — each one of which is presumably doing something the people want done, but can’t do for themselves, which they pay taxes to have done for them.

Now, based on Exhibit G in the City’s budget for FY 2011-12, the Total Direct Cost of operating those 34 agencies comes to $6,074,621,405.

Two of the 34 funded agencies are the Mayor’s Office and the City Council. Taken together, those two agencies received position authority to maintain a work- force of 202 regular employees. And taken together, they received a Total Departmental Appropriation of $41,634,259. Both the Position Authority and the Departmental Appropriation would appear to be modest — not excessive.

It must be noted, however, that the total direct cost of operating these two agencies jumps from an Appropriation of $41,634,259 to a total Operating Cost of $73,807,907! How can such a large (76 percent) increase be explained?

Well, part of that additional $32,173,648 is earmarked for Human Resource Benefits and Retirements. And some goes for water, electricity, building services, and other department-related costs.

But based on official City reports, which are not readily available to the public, it’s a safe bet that a significant portion of the extra 32$M will pay for an army of exempt Aides the Mayor/Council have secretly authorized themselves to hire.

And if that is the case, asking a few questions would surely now be appropriate:

Do our elected leaders — the Mayor and Councilmembers — serve the public when they supplement their workforce of 202 regular employees by hiring an army of exempt (unknown, untested, perhaps unqualified) Aides? Or do they corrupt Civil Service and open the door for a return to the spoils system?

Do the Mayor and Councilmembers serve Angelenos when their secret deals raise the cost of government — when the budget they adopt provides incomplete and misleading information? Or do they fuel the growing distrust of City Hall?

In LA, the Mayor and Council are elected to serve the people. They are elected to do the people’s business in public. They are not elected to serve themselves — to make the public pay for their “sweet deals”!

You can contact Sam Sperling at

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