True to form, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has washed his
hands of the bribery scandal in the Building and Safety Department, leaving
General Manager Bud Ovrom dangling in the wind as the FBI expands its probe “as
wide and as high as they can.”
Ovrom sent a nine-page confidential memo to the mayor to
alert him to the fact that the FBI probe which already nailed two
inspectors was nowturning from the
rank-and-file to supervisors and up the chain of command.
The memo filled with fresh details of the scandal was
accidentally emailed by Ovrom to hundreds of Building and Safety employees and reported
by the LA Times.
Ovrom warned the mayor he was “unsuccessful at staying in
front of this story” and that he might lead to private contractors and
land use consultants who have “an unusually high working
relationship” with certain Building and Safety employees.
“To the extent the problem is the result of poor supervisory skills,
several factors probably contributed to that breakdown,” Ovrom wrote.
“Perhaps the most glaring is that during the last three years the
department’s workforce has been reduced by 150 positions.”
The mayor’s official response to the memo says a lot about
how things have gone from bad to worse at City Hall.
“If Mr. Ovrom has an issue with supervisors, we expect
him to solve it,” said Deputy Mayor Sarah Sheahan.” The mayor expects every general manager to
run a tight ship.”
Actually, the record of the mayor and his top people is
anything but about expecting every general to run a tight ship.
Unprecedented in modern City Hall history, the mayor’s
record is one of browbeating general managers
into making him look good politically even if it means lying through
their teeth or embracing policies that waste money and benefit special
interests (like private contractors and land use consultants), not the public
Sheahan is one of 200 or so well paid chiefs, deputies,
assistants and advisers who spend their days putting the mayor in front of
cameras to boast about how he personally reduced crime, created jobs, greened
But you don’t see the mayor standing in foot-deep potholes,
cracked sidewalks, overgrown trees, closed libraries or anywhere else where the
failure of his administration is so visible that it can’t be concealed with
So when it comes to tackling the bribery scandal in Building
and Safety, the mayor is nowhere to be found.
It’s simply Bud’s problem. He’s the general manager so
Between inspectors caught red-handed taking bribes and the mayor running away from all responsibility, City Hall is giving new meaning to the old cliche about the buck stopping here.