Author: Ryan

The City’s Mismanagement of City Hall and Fire Stations Left Millions of Dollars in Long-Term Costs

The City’s Mismanagement of City Hall and Fire Stations Left Millions of Dollars in Long-Term Costs

Op-Ed: How to reform L.A. City Hall to avoid future corruption and scandal

By now you’re probably familiar with the story of how the City Hall of Los Angeles was left empty and inoperable after the 2011 L.A. riots. In fact, the city did not return to normal service until December 2011 — five months after the riots.

In short, City Hall went on a three-year hiatus. A city-funded police and fire department has operated on a skeleton crew since then, using emergency personnel and other resources available, but without full normal service available to all residents — including employees of the departments.

The city was left unable to meet basic services to many residents, leaving millions of dollars in long-term costs for repairs and maintenance, as well as property damage because many city employees weren’t allowed to use the buildings to work. The Los Angeles Times reported that some employees used private properties, such as storage facilities, to park city vehicles.

The City Council in March 2012 agreed to fund a temporary plan to keep city hall functional for one year — starting in the fall of 2013 — but the city has spent less than 20% of the money allocated for that purpose. A lawsuit brought by the public defender’s office has since challenged the city’s failure to fund an essential public safety plan.

“I’m really glad we were able to come up with a settlement to pay back the city for those kinds of things,” Mayor Garcetti told CityNews last month, citing the need to avoid future mismanagement of the funds. “We didn’t have a permanent solution for that other than to shut the building down.”

Garcetti is right that the city could have taken a different route to fixing the $2 billion-plus budget gap that was left by the city’s mismanagement at City Hall and fire stations. But I don’t think that the best way to get to a permanent solution is to force taxpayers to foot the bill for decades of unnecessary and illegal spending.

That’s what happened with the city’s emergency management system. As I reported for CityNews, as late as 2014, there was no emergency communications system set up to ensure the city could respond in case of emergency. Emergency managers, such as the city manager and the fire chief, were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to use the emergency radio channel when they

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