A Column About Waste and Mismanagement in City Government

This column focuses on the cost of mismanaging the City’s 4$B workforce. If you think you’re paying too much for City services, you may want to tell the folks Downtown what you think.

Consider this pie chart. It shows that the current City budget authorizes the expenditure of over 7 billion dollars. It also shows that about 60% of that amount goes to support employees.

CITY BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012-13 
$7,223,202,395 

 These are huge expenditures; they must be controlled. A major part of the problem is the fact that City employees are not well-managed. Typically, they are hired on the basis of invalid employment tests. The skills, initiative, and energy they bring to the job are not fully utilized. And their job performance is rated by a curious process the courts have consistently rejected.

In City government, employees are pretty much taken for granted. They work up to, or down to, the expectations of their supervisors. But many of them could handle, and would welcome, a chance to do more challenging work.

Mismanaging employees means that 60% of the City budget is mismanaged. It means our tax dollars are wasted. And it means we pay more than we should for the City services we get.

That’s why I’m writing this column, and that’s why I’m asking for your support in raising the quality of personnel management in City departments. You could provide that support — and do yourself a favor — by sharing your concerns with the Mayor. His number is (213) 978-0600 and his Email address is: mayor@lacity.org. Our Mayor needs to hear from US — from you and me!

Send your questions and comments to samuelmsperling@yahoo.com.