By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
Beck has made several personnel changes including demoting Assistant Chief Sharon Papa, who for years ran the Support Services Bureau. Beck’s demotion of Papa was steep — down two levels, to mere commander — and widely seen as a message about Beck’s displeasure with Papa. Her duties were given to Deputy Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur, who got the new title of Assistant Chief of Administrative Services.
Beck also shifted several units away from popular Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, who was kept in charge of the Office of Operations but lost a significant chunk of his domain to the new Assistant Chief Michel Moore — known as a tough manager with a close eye on his staff and budgets.
If Bratton was wasting money, Beck may have a chance to reduce the waste, perhaps squeezing out enough savings to blunt the fiscal blows facing the LAPD.
On Tuesday, the political appointees on the Police Commission formally called for a new “manual” and new training to be conducted to educate the LAPD on fiscally prudent practices. The commissioners noted in a press release, “We cannot go to the public asking for more money to increase the size of the Department if we are not efficient with our spending.”
Recently, the rank-and-file officers accepted a new contract with no raises for two years and steep cuts in overtime pay, just weeks after Bratton and the City Council got into a final, and ugly, budget feud. In October, City Council members including Paul Koretz, Bernard Parks and Greig Smith raised the idea of making a major raid on LAPD’s budget after the council had failed for months to meet a looming citywide deficit.
Bratton was furious, telling a group of reporters, “Once again the political leadership of this city has told a lie. ... They told the public we were going to grow this department with your tax dollars. If they’re going to shrink the department, well, they better give those tax dollars back.” Barking back at Bratton, Councilman Smith publicly invited him to get out of town — sending radio talk shows into overdrive about the City Hall antics.
For West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Chair Jay Handal, who also sits on a citywide neighborhood-council budget-advisory committee that reports to Villaraigosa, the audit showing widespread failure by LAPD to seek written bids or keep receipts is “symptomatic of a broken city.”
Handal says he has repeatedly told the advisory committee to the mayor, “It’s great to know where we have to make cuts and have furloughs, but we also need to know where there’s financial waste so we don’t have to make those cuts and furloughs. We’re not doing a good job of finding where the waste is.”
It’s clear that the Los Angeles City Council isn’t holding the big departments it oversees “financially accountable,” Handal says, and that Villaraigosa isn’t leaning on the department heads the mayor hires. “In Bratton’s case,” says Handal, once Villaraigosa doesn’t demand accountability, “who’s going to put his feet to the fire?”
Referring to the mayor’s weeklong trip to the climate summit in Denmark, Handal says, “The mayor is spending a lot of time talking about greenhouse gases and running over to Copenhagen, and the city is going broke. ... Someone really needs to take control of the operation of the city.”