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Thursday, January 22, 2009

City Spends $10 Million on Take Home Cars; Remember That When They Raise Your Parking Meters

Laura Chick has released an audit of how the City manages it's fleet of vehicles, including cars that officials and employees are allowed to take home at night, and well it isn't pretty. The City is spending $10 million a year on take-home cars, with fraud, waste and abuse rampant.

Among the key findings of the Controller's report::
  • The type of required insurance policy for employees with take home vehicles is inadequate and costly. Most employees are unaware of the requirement and do not possess it. This goes unmonitored resulting in increased risk and liability for the City and for the employee who drives the car.
  • There are 48 City vehicles for use as loaners when cars are being serviced, repaired, washed or detailed. Twenty-eight of those vehicles are unneeded.
  • Gas credit cards issued to elected officials, staff and general managers have a $1,500 per month line of credit (in case of emergency) and there is no way to determine if these are only used for city cars.
  • Until around the time our audit began, the City did not monitor usage of cards to fill-up five gallon gas cans. Since that time there has been a 41% drop in usage.
  • Since April 2008, the City’s former car auctioneer has owed the City $2.1 million. The City continued to use this auctioneer even after it stopped reimbursing the City. The City Attorney is now preparing a letter to collect the monies owed.

Chick has called for an immediate cancellation of City gas cards as well as overall reforms such as investigating if it's cheaper to reimburse employees for mileage as opposed to providing cars.

Read the whole report, here.

And you thought the City needed more of your money!

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30 Comments:

Blogger Heather said:

The Mayor's office has 26 CITY CARS...I hope the report show how many cars EACH council district has. Didn't 'Hahn's staffer get arrested in city car for DUI and didn't Perry's staffer total a city car as well?

January 22, 2009 11:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

FYI:

Rec and Parks got rid of 99% of their take-home vehicles more than two years ago.

January 22, 2009 11:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Ed Boks head of LA Animal Services has a city car. He has publicly driven this vehicle while severely intoxicated. The City and Ed Boks were sued for what looks like a car accident involving the city vehicle. Was there insurance on that vehicle? Only the city and Ed Boks were sued. No insurance company is mentioned.

January 22, 2009 12:09 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Come investigate the State Building I work in that houses the City DOT and Caltrans - 100 south spring street, los angeles, 90012.

Come see how many state/city vehicles exit the building at lunch. I'm so sure they are off to conduct business.

And you should see how many take-home vehicles Caltrans has! I'm talking about people that live in Ventura that get to take cars home. Yup! We pay for their vehicle maintenance and gas!

January 22, 2009 12:10 PM  

Blogger Heather said:

Shouting out from Northridge with major news. A Clowncil member who doesen't like Huizar alerted me. Where is Red Spot? He needs to add this to his list of corruption out of CD14. Listen to this Ad Hoc Gang Committee audio.

Where it says jump go to 07-1959

http://lacity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=103&clip_id=4861

WHY IS HUIZAR GIVING AWAY MONEY FROM THE CLARKS FUND AGAIN THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE USED ONLY FOR CD 14 TO LA BRIDGES PROGRAMS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY? HEY, DANIEL H. AT WEEKLY I THOUGHT THIS PROGRAM WAS STOPPED

January 22, 2009 12:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Full report is out

http://www.lacity.org/ctr/audits/Fleetfinal012209.pdf

Six city employees had their licenses suspended, revoked by the DMV. The city does not monitor accidents in noncommercial city vehicles. The city attorney's office has 22 vehicles.

January 22, 2009 2:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why do all those lazy city council staffers get to take home their cars? Is there anyone with a brain in city hall who has the leadership to cry out to stop the waste of 20 something staffers getting to drive city cars plus gas, cell phone etc. all on our dime.

January 22, 2009 2:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

want to see abuse? go to 2600 wilshire how do you spell abuse? I spell it HACLA RUDY MONTIEL

7 million dollars legal biils tax payers money, 1/2 million dollar salary a year PLUS 3,700 unaccounted for spending account per month. Housing allowance, two cars no brains just a real crook

January 22, 2009 4:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

vote these losers out. no more incumbents. get rid of the mayor,bratton,jack weiss,wendy greuel,and all thoughs councilmembers before we all lose our homes and services these people are crooks. if you want gangs on every street corner then keep supporting these thugs.

January 22, 2009 6:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I have an idea. Let's re-elect all of city council and AV, and then complain about it for four MORE years.

We get the level of corruption that we vote for. Don't like it? Work a little harder to vote them out.

January 22, 2009 6:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

How many of these cars get fixed at Vignali's body shop?

January 22, 2009 7:12 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Unless there is lots of public pressure, the City Council and Mayor won't change anything. They exist to protect each other.

More valuable than having a city car is having a city car without a city seal. The reason is that employees want the ability to use their car for personal purposes, and that's easier to do without the city seal on the side of the door.

It's a buyers market for jobs, especially for city jobs. Nobody is going to quit their job if some of these perks are taken away.

January 22, 2009 8:23 PM  

Blogger Jim Alger said:

Michael, I am so with you on this one. My question is where is the outrage? I wonder when the tipping point is going to come.

We have the highest paid city Council in the nation, council members and staff routinely take their cars home and the various other perks they get while Angelenos are losing their jobs by the boatload.

It is an utter disgrace and more should be done to expose it to embarrass these people into caring more about their constituents and the symbolism of what they're doing.

Barack Obama froze staff salaries which, let's face it, is a drop in the ocean of the entire executive office budget, but the symbolism is the ocean itself. The United States Congress lambasted CEOs for mismanaging their companies claiming loudly that they should be fired or work for free, and while we are in the worst recession since the Great Depression they voted themselves a pay raise to the tune of nearly $5,000 per year each.

It certainly seems time for the mayor to issue an executive order allowing the city officials to use their personal cars like we all have to where they can take a $.51 per mile reimbursement on their taxes.

Wouldn't it also be nice if these well-paid elected officials who have no problem furloughing their staff would themselves make the token gesture of a small percentage of their salary being put back to the city's coffers before they raise our DWP rates, trash rates, parking meter rates, dog license rates, or who knows what they're cooking up this week.

But once again I go to this; where is the outrage. Are Angelenos really so beaten down that they just don't care anymore?

January 23, 2009 2:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Wasn't it Smith that mowed down a constituent with his city vehicle?

January 23, 2009 4:40 AM  

Blogger Heather said:

Good for your Jim and very good point. I'm tired of people in LA just complaining and not doing shit. Get your asses off your butts and start speaking out at your community meetings and telling those loser council staffer to send the message that we're tired. This is a new era thanks to Obama and people need to start getting involved and DO SOMETHING. WE have the power we're just not using it. DEMAND AND SEND THOSE DAMN E-MAILS. TALK ABOUT THE ABUSE IN CITY COUNCIL EVERY CHANCE YOU GET....

January 23, 2009 6:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

where is Antonio Villar???? is he still in Washington fighting for more dollars??? We are struggling to pay his trash hiked up fees here in LA. Mr. President Obama, please send Antonio back to LA and tell him not to come back to ask for more money until he has his town in order.

Angelinos, lets send a message to the Mayor, vote for someone else or are going to wait until he is termed out??

January 23, 2009 6:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Antonio and all the idiots who are media whores are at the Cathedra getting their picture taken with Phoney Mahoney using the tragedy for the poor little 4 year old who was shot. How fucking pathetic they all are!!!!! Since Laura Chick N Shit keeps bringing up waste in audits how much did it cost the taxpayers for the Mayor, his secuity detail, his assistants, pr guys, etc. to go to Washington all on our dollar? Who has the guts to report that???

January 23, 2009 11:19 AM  

Blogger Petra Fried in the City said:

Jim, Heather,

If there is not Citywide outrage by now, there isn't ever going to be.

Boy, that's depressing.

Okay, so how does a mere mortal put pressure on these clowns to be more ethical and responsive?

Bring the pressure from the outside? I dunno... Federal scrutiny maybe?

January 23, 2009 11:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Petra how true. Post on as many blogs out in the hemisphere what a bunch of goons we have in Los Angeles. Even the New York Times is reporting stories of BS from Antonio.

January 23, 2009 12:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey...they need all those unmarked city cars to use at the No-Tell motels they frequent for 2-3 hours in the middle of the week! After all, they do need to conduct 'undercover' work!

Are we paying the motel bills, too?? I hear some of them love the Dom Perignon!

I wouldn't give a rip if they used their own cars on their own time without taxpayer funded credit cards!

January 23, 2009 12:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

That was in the days of Bitter Bernie with undercover cars at hotels. Hey, why didn't they say anything about Rocky's cars? Why isn't anyone answering the question as to how many cars each city council member has per office. Does anyone know??? I say at least 7. Remember the Daily News doing the story of all those deputy mayors? Do they all get cars to take home with a gas card.

January 23, 2009 3:09 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You whiners need to shut up and think before you let your little fingers touch the keyboard.

No one complains about the council or city staff who attend late night community meetings! Sure, one meeting for YOU every month, but there are scores of community meetings EVERY month that EVERYONE expects staff to attend.

Oh yea, and let staff be paid $35-45K to work 70+ hours per week for nagging community people, most of whom don't bother to volunteer for their own communities.

January 23, 2009 3:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"Oh yea, and let staff be paid $35-45K to work 70+ hours per week for nagging community people, most of whom don't bother to volunteer for their own communities."

They are paid much more than 45K; dont work 70+ hours per week, (leaving the office at 2:00pm) and anyone who voluneers for the community is considered suspect by CD staffers.

Remember, these jobs are not given because of "WHAT the candidate knows, but WHO the candidate knows"

Most staff members can neither read or write English in CD1, CD13 and CD14.

January 23, 2009 9:02 PM  

Blogger Jim Alger said:

3:29 If you don't like the job, do us all a favor and quit.

January 23, 2009 9:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Touche Jim telling 3:29. Bullshit those council staffers attend a lot of meetings. There are more community members who attend more meetings throughout the month then those losers. No one likes them because they are nothing more then paid hears, that's it. They do nothing and get free blackberries, gas, insurance, perks and all on our tax dollars. Sure they show up to maybe one meeting but leave within the 1/2 hour saying they have another one to attend. We did a call around in one district and found out they were all lying and going home instead in the paid city car.

January 24, 2009 5:50 AM  

Blogger Heather said:

The timing of Chick's report is suspect. Why doesn't Chick audit the city council offices or Mayor's office. Word is the Mayor's office staff has tripled since Riordan days. He has 15 Deputy Mayor making over $125,000 and that's not counting all the deputy mayor aides, assistants, pr, lawyers etc. and how many of these people have cars? Why doesn't Chick say how many cars HER OFFICE HAS? C'mon Chick what's up with the bias auditing???

January 24, 2009 6:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The first thing that should be audited or investigated is how many of these city owned cars are released to unlicensed drivers.

Rumor has it that many of these city employees don't have their valid driving credentials putting the city more at risk.

January 24, 2009 9:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What is Jim Alger running for now?

January 24, 2009 12:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jim, the fact is that select city staff need to be treated fairly if you want them to execute their jobs effectively. No staffer should have to pay out of pocket for gas and to drive their car into the ground to attend community meetings.

I don't think the audit fails to point out how to improve the system, but to discard it outright is stupid.

January 26, 2009 4:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Let's not forget about the five Public Works commissioners who each have cars. Most have the new 2008 or 2009 hybrid camry. Wow! They are saving on gas but they don't pay for it anyway. And, they use their car to go to award shows, concerts, Conga Room, etc. Want to save money? Eliminate the Board of Public Works. Their job is redundant and unnecessary. Are they looking out for the best interest of the public they serve or the mayor they serve? Just ask the president.

January 26, 2009 10:47 PM  

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