WHY LOS ANGELES NEEDS A GOOD, STRONG MAYOR

Obviously, the people of Los Angeles have always wanted their mayors to be good and honest. But until July 1, 2000 the city had a Charter that was specifically designed to limit the power of the mayor’s office. Indeed, under the previous Charter, executive power in City Service was so widely disbursed that Mayor Bradley actually controlled departments using less than 10 % of the city budget. Of course, all that changed when the new budget was approved by the voters.

Compared with the 1925 “Weak Mayor” Charter, the city’s new Charter greatly expands the powers of the Executive Branch. To manage those powers, L.A. needs a good, strong mayor!

Under the current Charter, the Mayor of Los Angeles is the city’s Chief Executive Officer. He/she is responsible for executing and upholding all city laws and ordinances. A good, strong mayor could use that authority to restore the Board of Civil Service Commissioners to its legal role in city government. A good, strong mayor could also require the Personnel Department to administer the city’s civil service system.

Moreover, the Charter now vests the mayor with management authority over virtually all city departments, agencies, and appointed offices. Thus, a good, strong mayor could raise the level of Human Resource Management throughout the city organization by requiring all responsible managers to bring their personnel practices in line with Best Practice Standards.

The mayor has the power and duty to appoint the heads of nearly all departments, bureaus, and offices in the city organization. A good, strong mayor could discharge his duty to the people by using his/her power to conduct nation-wide searches and to appoint the best qualified managers available anywhere in the country.

Subject to Council confirmation, the mayor has the power and duty to appoint the members of commissions and boards. A good, strong mayor would use this power to appoint qualified Civil Service Commissioners. He/she would work with the Commission to raise the level of Human Resource Management in all city departments, bureaus, and offices.

The mayor has the power and duty to prepare and submit his proposed budget to the City Council. A good, strong mayor would discharge his/her duty to Angelenos by cutting fat from the budget. For example, he/she could eliminate the full-time Board of Public Works, reduce the number of highly-paid exempt employees, including some Mayoral Aides/ Council Aides.

As the city’s most powerful official, a good, strong mayor could use Joint Labor-Management Partnerships to improve working conditions for City employees. Such partnerships could assist managers in maintaining a supportive work-place environment. They could work with managers to consider if traditional personnel practices are still effective. And LMPs could help managers appraise supervisory effectiveness in their departments.

There’s no question that Los Angeles needs a good, strong mayor; the question is can such a mayor be found among the current group of declared candidates?

 You can contact Sam Sperling at samuelmsperling@yahoo.com.