LA city creates collections czar

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The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday created a new Inspector General for Revenue and Collections to help bring in hundreds of millions of dollars people owe the cash-strapped city.

A city report estimates that L.A. hasn’t collected more than half a billion dollars - mostly in past due parking tickets and ambulance fees the fire department charges.

The report by the Commission on Revenue Efficiency found that half those collections are more than two years past due, and largely uncollectible. It recommended the city create a new Inspector General to help collect the other half.

“I think it’s important we shock the status quo," Councilman Paul Krekorian said.

Councilman Tony Cardenas said the city desperately needs help. The city needs someone "who is going to bring us facts, who is going to bring us figures, and going to show us when we have to, for god sakes, write something off," he said.

But even as he voted for the new position, Krekorian issued a warning to his colleagues.

“Ultimately it will be our responsibility, the general manager’s responsibility and the mayor’s responsibility to ensure a more effective operation of this city.”

The report by the city’s Commission on Revenue Efficiency said the Office of Finance is responsible for collections, but many city departments neglect to send overdue bills to that office.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hires and fires department general managers.