January 11

Passing the big bucks

first_imgThe Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday followed through with its plan to imbue the chief administrator with more power in an effort to – finally – pin responsibility for the county’s various failings on somebody, anybody. The $1.7 million reorganization plan places true power and accountability on the newly created position of chief executive officer – as well as a hefty pay raise. The CEO will be paid up to $399,000 a year, and there will be six deputies. More authority and a lot more money will undoubtedly make the job more attractive to candidates when the supervisors do a second search to replace top administrator David Janssen. Janssen retired, but came back temporarily when the first search failed to turn up any willing and qualified candidates. But the question remains, who should pay for the cost of the reorganization: the people who rely on the county for badly needed – and too often badly provided – critical services, or people who are rolling in dough and who have failed for so long in their jobs? That question leads to one inescapable conclusion: The cost should be borne by the supervisors themselves. After all, it’s their failure that created the accountability void in the first place. Besides, with the burden of responsibility shifted, the five supervisors and their vast, well-paid staffs will have much less to do. Department heads will report directly to the CEO. Thus managing the near-collapse of one county medical center, the problems in the foster care department and the systemic waste of millions of dollars will cease to be the supervisors’ responsibility. If the reorganization lets the supervisors transfer much of their authority to the CEO, they ought to transfer a commensurate amount of their individual office budgets to cover it. That’s the fair thing to do, and it would send the right message to taxpayers and county workers. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more