Audit: Delays, inefficiency plague LA city workers' compensation cases

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City of Los Angeles Public Works Department Street Services workers repair a sidewalk on August 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

A new city audit finds delays and mismanagement in handling workers' compensation cases may be costing Los Angeles taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

City Controller Wendy Greuel conducted the audit. She says the city attorney's office often takes years to resolve workers compensation cases and checks for fraud in a tiny fraction of claims.

L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich says he is following the audit recommendations and making workers comp a priority. He stood with Greuel for the press conference outside City Hall. He says his office is under staffed after budget cuts of more than 25 percent.

"We need to guard the treasury. You don't guard the treasury by cutting the guards. You guard the treasury by reinforcing those who are responsible for it," Trutanich says.

Greuel agrees and recommends the L.A. City Council increase the budget for the City Attorney's office to better handle workers compensation cases.

The audit finds the city loses about $3 million a year because it fails to collect money from third parties found partially responsible for a worker's injury.

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