LOS ANGELES CITY CONTROLLER'S BLOG
Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010
This morning I released a follow-up audit of the City’s Comprehensive Citywide Anti-Gang Strategy. I strongly believe that this audit is among the most important I will conduct, because the safety of our children and communities is our City’s most important responsibility.
Unfortunately, our city has become known as the gang capital of the United State, and according to the LAPD, the City currently has over 400 gangs and nearly 41,000 gang members.
In 2008, the Controller’s office completed a report that revealed the City was wasting millions of dollars a year on disparate programs that were highly disorganized and lacked accountability — clearly something needed to be done.
The Blueprint for a Comprehensive Citywide Anti-Gang Strategy was created to show a path forward for how the City could reclaim our streets and our children through a strategy of prevention, intervention, and suppression. At the time, I was still serving on the City Council, and I introduced a proposal to consolidate all Anti-Gang programs into a coordinated office, which was created in 2008.
The audit I released today is the second follow-up, and the results give me mixed feelings: I am happy to see the progress the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) has made, but am disappointed that there is no way to measure the success of this progress, which is vital if we are to continue putting our efforts to fighting against gang violence.
My audit found that 52% of the original 109 recommendations have been implemented or are no longer relevant, and 47% are either partially implemented of still in progress. In fact, only one recommendation has not been implemented. Efforts such as the Summer Night Lights Program are clearly successful and heartening to hear about — but that is not enough.
While the recommendations have been implemented for laying a strong foundation for a comprehensive anti-gang strategy, the office and their contractor the Urban Institute have not provided any evaluation of GRYD’s overall efforts. Nearly a year and a half and $525,000 in taxpayer funds have been wasted, and little progress has been made to provide measureable outcomes.
GRYD needs to provide more oversight because our City needs to know without a doubt that these programs are working and that we truly are making progress. Starting today, we must redouble our efforts to rid our City of the plague of gang violence.
Posted at 8:40 AM
Thursday, Jul 01, 2010
Today is the beginning of a new fiscal year, and considering that the City is currently facing a multi-million dollar long-term budget deficit, we need all the revenue we can get. However, the results of my latest audit about the City’s billing and collections practices show that this critical part of City government is not working as it should.
Our audit examined six major departments who do a lot of the City’s billing, such as the Transportation and Fire departments. Within these six departments, only 53% of the money the City billed over the course of a year was actually collected. These departments billed a total of $553.4 million for fiscal year 2008-09, but only $293 million was collected, which means $260 million from these six departments alone went uncollected. That is a rate which is unsustainable for the City.
The audit is actually a follow-up to another audit from 2007, in which the Controller’s office recommended 35 different proposals to improve the City’s policies and increase revenue. Since 2007, 64% of the recommendations have been implemented, which is great. However, the collection rate has only gone up a mere 1% from the 52% in 2007. That’s simply unacceptable, especially since the most important recommendation from the 2007 audit—to implement a centralized collection process—has not yet happened. Furthermore, city departments need to be held accountable about forwarding bills for collection.
There’s a lot of room for improvement for billing and collections in the City and after three years, more progress must be seen. Collecting more money is not going to close our entire budget deficit alone, but the City needs every dollar it is owed, and any uncollected money widens our budget deficit and forces even more cuts to services. For the complete report, click here: http://controller.lacity.org/stellent/groups/electedofficials/@ctr_contributor/documents/contributor_web_content/lacityp_010700.pdf
Posted at 3:50 PM