Editor’s Note: For months City Controller Laura Chick and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo have been engaged in a legal and political war over whether the City Charter gives her office the right to conduct performance audits of programs run by other elected officials, specifically how he’s managed the city worker compensation programs. With Janice Hahn playing a critical role, the City Council last week refused to pay for Chick’s lawyer to defend her position in court against a lawsuit Delgadillo filed to block her audit.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
City Controller Laura N. Chick
Last week the Los Angeles City Council voted to refuse hiring outside legal counsel to defend me against a suit brought by City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. The suit, City of Los Angeles vs. City Controller Laura Chick, is attempting to block me from conducting a performance audit of Delgadillo’s multi-million dollar workers compensation program.
During the debate, Councilmember Janice Hahn, a member of the 1999 elected City Charter Commission spoke out against allowing the City Controller to conduct performance audits of programs housed in elected official’s offices.
Councilmember Hahn’s views were a major influence on the discussion since she was part of the Commission which wrote the Charter. The City Attorney has been circulating Councilmember Hahn’s statement to back his position.
However, just eight months ago. Councilmember Hahn spoke at a public hearing of the City Council’s Ad-Hoc on Gang Violence and Youth Development and supported having the City Controller conduct performance audits of programs no matter where they are housed. .
I have included the transcripts and audio clips of Councilmember Hahn’s statements.”
Councilmember Janice Hahn
City Council Meeting
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I was on the charter Commission, I think I know what we wanted it to be and I think what you’re seeing here is exactly what we wanted to avoid. One political, um, office, you know, having an opportunity to um, you know, investigate another political office for, um, you know,
whatever reason but we’ve seen it in the past how that has happened and I think we on the City Charter, and I think Erwin Chemerinsky might disagree with me but, I think we wanted the City Controller to do performance audits of departments to find out, uh, ya know, how we could do a better job. We never intended one political office to investigate another political office.
Councilmember Janice Hahn
City Council’s Ad-Hoc on Gang Violence and Youth Development
March 14, 2008
I think what everybody here is wanting, particularly me, is this accountability, this transparency, this accountability that everyone in the City knows for a fact as we move forward, which programs are working. How tax dollars are being used and we can see this in an open process.
And I want to tell you, I’m probably the only one sitting around here who wrote this City Charter. I was elected to the Charter Commission and I will tell you in the intent in this section 261, the intent of the elected Charter Commission which represented the people, no offense to the appointed Charter Commission. It was our intent that programs and offices would be, you know, audited by the City Controller. And I will tell you, the public, we sold this City Charter to the public saying that while we gave the Mayor more accountability, we also gave the City Controller, really we wanted the City Controller to regularly audit,
financial and performances of offices.
There never was in my opinion, an intent that if a program was somehow housed in a City official’s office that it would not be under this intent. I would challenge you to, you know survey other Charter Commissioners, because I believe we have the same–and even if you look at our campaign material when we tried to get this City Charter passed by the people, this was one of the key things that the Controller would be able to audit programs inside the City of Los Angeles.