Greuel: City Could Have Saved $125 Million

Wendy Greuel shares ideas with the Pacific Palisades Community Council on fiscal accountability, raising revenue and more effective ways to finance projects and services.

The Pacific Palisades Community Council hosted a presentation and question-and-answer session on Feb. 23 with Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel. The former city councilwoman and 2013 mayoral hopeful focused on what she called "performance-based budgeting" and recounted audits her staff conducted that saved taxpayer dollars.

"Performance-based budgeting is really looking at how the city does business," Greuel said, noting that "it's more than just the numbers" with focus on how the city provides services. She cited accountability as "critically important" in determining a department's budget.

In October Greuel issued what she called a "blueprint for performance-based budgeting," which urges that "city leaders develop strategic priorities and build the budget around shared outcomes, rather than the line-item approach the city currently employs."

She suggested phasing in performance-based budgeting with the Planning and Sanitation departments.

Greuel also reported to PPCC members that in her 2.5-year stint as controller, she has done more than 50 audits of city departments and "identified over $125 million in savings ... if we had done things differently."

She went on to highlight recent audits of the Animal Services Department, the Los Angeles City Housing Authority and a contract pertaining to advertising sales from space on public toilets, transit shelters, newsstands and public amenity pillars and kiosks.

"We found some disturbing news," Greuel said.

The controller and her staff detected Animal Services' incomplete accounting of the number of animals housed in the department's shelters and a loss of $1.3 million in revenue from the failure to collect dog-licensing fees.

The city's contract with CBS Decaux LLC resulted in a revenue loss of more than $23 million due to the city's failure to collect on proceeds generated by advertising, and Housing Authority officials inordinately logged $300,000 in travel expenses in 2009 and 2010 compared with recent prior years.

  • For Greuel's audit visit the city controller's website.
Rico99 March 01, 2012 at 04:37 PM
$125M in savings? Out of curiosity, I wonder how much the City of Los Angeles reaps in terms of Property Tax Revenue from Pacific Palisades. Clearly with the decrease in funding for our Fire Department Engine Companies, the deplorable condition of our roads, the programs, educational standards and bureaucratic red tape of the LAUSD, the fact that the City of Los Angeles is over half a BILLION DOLLARS in debt, with tens of millions in unfunded pension liabilities and that we have a mayor and city council that are so heavily biased toward special interests just so they can secure re-=election has not served our community well at all. I would like to know why Pacific Palisades hasn't seceeded from the City of Los Angeles. It is my belief that this community would handle its property tax revenues wisely and improve the quality of life for all of its citizens.


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