Business & Economy

City controller: LA wastes money by buying brand names and getting immediate delivery

City Controller Wendy Greuel
City Controller Wendy Greuel
Courtesy Wendy Greuel

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The latest state audit by Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel says the city of L.A. may be wasting big money on everyday items, just by not buying smart.

She says the city shells out nearly half a billion dollars each year just on the basic commodities that keep it going — everything from uniforms to motor oil to paper towels.

Greuel took a sample of some of those purchases and discovered $700,000 worth of overspending. On average, Greuel says L.A. bureaucrats pay about 77 percent more for basic items compared to other cities across the country.

That's because the city’s General Services Department insists on buying brand name products, even when lower-priced generics are available.

Agencies also routinely pay for expensive, immediate delivery — even if the items are not needed right away.

Greuel recommends more comparison shopping, an overhaul of some outmoded practices — and a little common sense.