What Stinks at City Hall?

This column is about a questionable employment practice now used in Mayor Villaraigosa’s Office and in the individual Districts of the Los Angeles City Council.

The adopted City budget for 2011-12 gave the Mayor’s Office authority to hire a staff of 94 employees. It gave the City Council authority to hire 108 employees.

But those figures — 94 and 108 — were not real; they were phony figures. Based on a January 13, 2012 report from the Controller’s Office, the Mayor actually had a staff of 180 employees and the City Council had a workforce of 344 employees

How could that happen? Well, no one seems willing to talk about this situation. But based on their respective Personnel Ordinances, it’s clear that the Mayor’s Office and the City Council approved all those “AS NEEDED” appointments.

What’s not clear is whether appointing those additional employees violated City regulations. It is clear, however, that those two agencies put more than 300 extra employees on the City payroll — without any public discussion, and without any  indication of the total cost to the public.

It’s also clear that, while the Mayor and Council have actually cut City services by laying off civil service employees, they’ve protected the army of Aides they hired to serve themselves!

Are all those Aides really needed? Who are they, and what do they do? Does the work they do justify the cost of their employment? To date, those questions have not been answered, and the people ofLos Angelesare free to speculate that this employment practice was designed primarily to benefit 16 City politicians!

Think about that. The Mayor and the Council decide how many exempt Aides are needed. Then they hire the Aides they want, assign them to do what they want done, and evaluate each Aide’s performance — all with no accountability! That’s a little bit like letting the Dodger pitcher serve – simultaneously — as the plate umpire!

Is that really the way the City’s employment system is supposed to work? Are Angelenos really expected to pay for a system over which they have absolutely no control, and which they suspect is ripping them off?

I don’t think so. That’s why I’m submitting this column. And that’s why I’m asking YOU to tell your representatives at City Hall that YOU’RE revolted by this hiring practice — that it smells like the SPOILS SYSTEM — that YOU want it changed!

You can contact this writer at samsuelmperling@yahoo.com.