The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan today to redistribute power from the county’s chief executive officer to themselves.
The vote shows a fundamental shift in opinion among the supervisors, who as recently as 2007 had voted to give more power to the county’s CEO.
While the board had hoped that empowering the CEO would streamline county processes, a 2008 assessment by a county advisory commission found that it had added a layer of bureaucracy and led to conflict between the supervisors and the CEO. Supervisors often continued to micromanage departments, even to the point of having their aides ghostwrite memos that had ostensibly come from department heads.
Will this new plan help to streamline county functioning? Is it important to have someone at the top to blame (or plaudit) for the state of the county? What effects will this have on an agency with a $27-billion budget and 100,000 employees?
Sheila Kuehl, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors representing District 3, which includes the San Fernando Valley, the Westside of Los Angeles and coastal areas between Venice and the Ventura Countyline. She is a former California State Senator.
Jessica Levinson, Professor of Law, at Loyola Law School where she specializes in governance issues; she’s also Vice President of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission
Zev Yaroslavsky, former Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing District 3, which includes the San Fernando Valley, the Westside of Los Angeles and coastal areas between Venice and the Ventura Countyline. His op-ed on ways to revamp the county government was recently published in the Los Angeles Times.