As a mayoral candidate, Wendy Greuel is frequently in the news. But she doesn’t talk much about the City’s No. 1 problem: an under-achieving workforce. Since over 60 percent of the City budget goes for employees, voters might expect Greuel to say something about the current mess in civil service.
Even if she’s not asked about it, Candidate Greuel should tell the people what’s happening to the City’s civil service system. She should explain that the civil service provisions of the Charter are ignored, that the Personnel Department has been marginalized, and that the Board of Civil Service Commissioners is in handcuffs. She might also explain that the City’s 34 budgetary departments now operate without effective oversight.
The truth about City Service is not pretty; the question is, what would Mayor Greuel do to clean up the mess? Despite repeated requests for information about her plans, she has not responded to such questions as these:
1. If you were Mayor, would you enforce Charter Section 540 — would you require the Personnel Department to administer the civil service system?
2. If you were Mayor, would you enforce Charter Section 541 — would you support the Board of Civil Service Commissioners, and use it as a firewall?
3. If you were Mayor, would you see it as your duty to raise the quality of performance management throughout the City organization?
Greuel’s refusal to say how she would fix the City’s broken personnel system leads me to wonder if she thinks it doesn’t need fixing. Maybe she thinks it’s OK for the Mayor to handcuff the Board and grab its powers for himself! That scary thought is reinforced by Greuel’s recently announced intention to hire an advisor whose wacky ideas helped wreck the civil service system!
One thing is clear: Angelenos are heavily invested in City employees. They have a right to expect the City’s employment system to be honest and well-managed. But over the past 20 years, a succession of three Mayors twisted civil service into something it was never intended to be. They enhanced their own powers by usurping the powers of the Civil Service Commission. And they compounded that offense by refusing to let the people vote on their radical Charter changes.
It’s time to clean up the mess at City Hall! It’s time to restore the employment system the people voted for! And if Candidate Greuel isn’t willing to acknowledge the problem and propose a workable solution, she doesn’t deserve to be elected!
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