REPORT ON THE
ECONOMY AND EFFICIENCY COMMISSION
Los Angeles County
Economy and Efficiency Commission
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Los Angeles County Economy and Efficiency Commission was created by resolution of the Board of Supervisors in June 1964. In August 1975, the Board adopted an ordinance continuing the commission and specifying in detail its duties, method of operation, and qualifications of its members. The commission is composed of 21 members, who serve without compensation of any kind. Chairman of the commission is Mr. George E. Bodle.
The commission serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors. It is charged with the responsibility to examine any operation of County government, at the request of the Board or on its own initiative, and submit recommendations to the Board directed toward improving government economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. Commission studies, however, have not been limited to County government.
The County furnishes an office and the services of a full time executive secretary and secretary. To assist it in its studies, the commission has called on experts in the industrial, professional, and consulting fields who have, upon occasion, been loaned by their respective companies without cost to the County.
During its tenure the commission has conducted 47 major studies. The resulting reports contain a total of 215 recommendations. Of these, the Board has approved 172, generally after conducting a public hearing. These include six County Charter amendments later approved by the voters. Several projects for which we are currently seeking financing would continue work on the recommendations of these earlier reports.
The commission reports can be classified into nine broad areas of interest: county organization, civil service and personnel, compensation policies, control and management systems, construction and facilities management, county executive, budget, city-county organization, and other political issues.
The Economy and Efficiency Commission has been actively studying these nine areas since 1966. Many recommendations have been adopted and implemented by the Board of Supervisors. Some were not immediately adopted, but later were introduced to the voters. Our investigation is still continuing where problems persist and are still of interest to the Commission. This section summarizes the contents of each of the commission's reports and comments on the action taken regarding them.
1. Organization Planning in County Government - May 1966
A comprehensive survey of organizational problems in county government, emphasizing in particular the multiplicity of departments
(over 50) and advisory commissions and committees (over 70)reporting to the Board of Supervisors. Recommends the establishment of an organization planning function in the Chief Administrative Office to systematize and formalize short and long-range planning.
Comment - The Board took no action on the recommendations. Two charter amendments sponsored by the commission--one dividing the Charities Department into the Department of Hospitals, Adoptions, and Public Social Services, the other giving the Board greater authority to consolidate or separate departments--were approved by the voters in the 1966 general election.
2. Report on a Separate Auditor Department - April 1975
Recommends (1) that the Audit Division remain in the department of the Auditor-Controller, and (2) that the Board of Supervisors request the Grand Jury to conduct audits of the Board offices, the Chief Administrative Office, and the Auditor-Controller at least once every three years.
Comment - In November 1974, the Board requested the E & E Commission to report on a recommendation of the 1973 Grand Jury to establish the Audit Division of the Auditor-Controller as a separate department. The Board approved the first recommendation in November. t has not taken action on the second recommendation.
3. The New York City Crisis and Los Angeles County Government: Organization, Employment and Compensation - May 1976
States that Los Angeles County government is moving rapidly toward a serious fiscal crisis. Presents a history of the past ten years summarizing the increase in employment--44,000 to 76,000--and associated increase in expenditures--$940 million to $2.7 billion. Concludes that basic organizational reform is needed to reverse the trends of the past ten years and avert a fiscal crisis. Recommends that the Board delegate more authority
to the Chief Administrative Officer and hold him or her accountable for effective cost control, particularly in the areas of compensation and supervision.
Comment - The Board requested the commission review the cause of financial crisis in New York City and make recommendations to prevent a similar crisis in Los Angeles County. The Board and County officials have been acting to implement some aspects of our proposal.
4. Formation of Canyon County - October 1976
Recommends a NO vote on Proposition F on the November ballot, which would create a new county in the northwest corner of Los Angeles County, called Canyon County. Recommends four changes in State law governing the formation of new counties, all designed to improve information to voters.
Comment - Adopted. The law requires the proposition to be approved by a majority of voters in the new county area and a majority in the old county. Proposition F was approved in Canyon County by a 55% margin and disapproved in Los Angeles County by a 68% margin.
5. Impact of New County Formation - May 1978
Concludes that the various proposals to secede from Los Angeles County provide no effective solution to the serious problems affecting local government. Recommends a NO vote in the June election on Propositions C and D, proposals to form South Bay County and Peninsula County.
Comment - Adopted. The Board commended the Commission and directed it to have 2000 copies printed for distribution to the news media, libraries, educational institutions, and community groups.
6. Report on Civil Service Operations - May 1966
A critical report of practices and procedures in the civil service system. Recommends eight major changes to eliminate red
tape and expedite recruitment, examination, and promotion procedures.
Comment - Adopted. Some proposed changes were implemented. Personnel in other departments reported improvement in recruitment, examination, and classification procedures. Serious problems persist, particularly in the over protectiveness of Civil Service, the relationship with collective bargaining, and the organization of the department.
7. County Personnel Organization and Administration - July 1966
Proposes a charter amendment to consolidate all personnel functions in one department under a Director of Personnel. Proposes establishment of a collective bargaining system in the County providing for the negotiation between management and unions of agreements on wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Comment - Adopted. The voters approved the amendment in the 1966 general election. Rules and regulations governing the collective bargaining system are administered by an Employee Relations Commission of three members under the provisions of an Employee Relations Ordinance, adopted by the Board in 1968. The County now has 56 bargaining units represented by 13 unions, who negotiate a annually with County management.
8. Proposed Charter Amendments - August 1972
Proposes that the Board place a charter amendment on the November ballot which would allow the County to hold open competitive examinations for department heads and chief deputies or principal assistants. The Charter at that time excluded outsiders from consideration if three or more County employees satisfied the qualifications for the position.
Comment - Adopted. The voters approved the amendment by a 75% vote. Since that time, among 31 new department heads which have been appointed, 14 came from outside the County.
9. Civil Service and, Collective Bargaining in Los Angeles County Government, December 1973
Contains a detailed analysis of the problems involved in the civil service and collective bargaining Systems and recommends major changes to correct them. Recommends a charter amendment to combine the Civil Service and Employee Relations Commissions into a new commission of five members and to transfer authority to appoint the Director of Personnel from the Civil Service Commission to the Board of Supervisors. Recommends a second charter amendment to delete the prevailing wage clause from the County Charter. Recommends that the County define all positions which are considered to be management and establish a separate compensation plan for them.
Comment - The Board voted to place the proposal for the appointment of the Personnel Director on the November 1974 ballot. It was approved by the voters by a 54% vote. A subsequent charter amendment, to delete the prevailing wage clause from the County Charter, was also approved by the voters in June 1978. The Board is continuing to work, both through the Commission and through the Director of Personnel, to establish a separate compensation plan for management.
10. Recommendations on the Authority of the Employee Relations Commission - April 1975
Contains-three recommendations designed to clarify the role and authority of the Employee Relations Commission in order to avoid conflict between County management and unions over the legal status of commission orders.
Comment - In June 1975 the Board approved a change in the Employee Relations Ordinance agreed to by County management and the unions. The change is different from that recommended by the E & E Commission.
11. Request for Legislation Providing for the Appointment of 34 Additional Superior Court Judges - April 1977
Recommends that the Board of Supervisors reject the request of the Superior Court to support legislation for 34 additional judges.
Comment - Adopted. The request of the Superior Court was referred by the Board to the Chief Administrative Officer and the E & E Commission. In separate reports, both recommended against the addition on the grounds that the court is not operating efficiently in comparison to ten other superior courts in the State.
12. County Compensation Policies and Practices - August 1966
Contains 14 recommendations proposing a major overhaul of compensation policies and practices, including changing the method of paying craft workers and employing an outside consultant to conduct a study of compensation for jobs existing primarily in government.
Comment - This report was based upon a study conducted by a special industry committee organized by the E & E Commission and composed of personnel officials from eleven major companies in the area.
The Board rejected the recommendation to change the manner of setting wage rates for craft jobs based on comparable jobs in private industry but approved most of the other recommendations.
13. Executive Compensation - April 1967
Requests the Board to authorize a contract with an outside consulting firm to develop a systematic executive compensation plan.
Comment - Adopted. The consultant, Theodore Barry and Associates, was hired, conducted the study, and presented recommendations to the Board of Supervisors in December 1967. The Board rejected the recommendations and referred the consultant's report to the E & E Commission for further study.
Executive Compensation in Los Angeles County Government -
Recommends revised salary schedules for 45 department heads and 330 other top executives based upon an evaluation of the position and salary data for comparable positions in both the public and private sectors.
Comment - Adopted. The relative ranking of executives still follows in general the pattern recommended by the commission.
Eliminating Automatic Step Increases and Controlling Supervisory
Costs in Los Angeles County Government -
Recommends elimination of the automatic salary step plan and reduction in the levels of supervision. Because of the step increase plan, many county employees receive two pay increases each year, the increase negotiated by unions or granted to nonunion employees and an additional 5.5% step increase. On the use of supervision, the County employs one supervisor for every 5.8 subordinates. The report estimates that elimination of the step plan would save $20 million annually. Reduction in supervision would save $13 million.
Comment - Adopted. The Board commended the commission for its report. Little effective action, however, has been taken to implement the recommendations.
16. Recommendations on the Prevailing Wage Clause and the Automatic Salary Step Increase Plan - February 1977
Recommends that the Board of Supervisors place a charter amendment on the ballot to delete the prevailing wage clause. Recommends that the Board adopt a firm management objective to eliminate the County's automatic step increase plan.
Comment - The commission had called for the deletion of the prevailing wage clause since 1973. The Board voted 3-2 in February
to place the amendment on the ballot at the next general election in June 1978. It was approved by a 63% margin. Little progress has been made on phasing out the automatic step plan.
Cost Reduction in Los Angeles County Government -
Contains 7 recommendations to reduce the costs of county government, based on previous commission studies. Specific areas for economy are user fees, consolidation of the Marshal's department under the Sheriff, automatic step increases for civil service employees, supervisory costs, craft wages, and commission stipends. Estimated savings are $102 million annually.
Comment - Adopted. There have been some cost savings through increase in some user fees and reduced numbers of meetings for commissions; legislation is pending to consolidate the Sheriff and Marshal into one department. Little progress has been made in other areas.
18. Productivity in County Departments - October 1965
Contains 4 recommendations covering the formation of a management audit and work measurement function to be established in the Chief Administrative Office.
Comment - Adopted. Since creation of the function in November 1965, the unit has conducted over 50 audits and studies of County departments and programs. According to a report by the Chief Administrative Office in April 1976, the work measurement program has eliminated 2,953 budgeted positions at an annual savings of $36 million, when salaries and benefits are included, and cumulative savings of $161 million.
19. Consolidation of Sheriff-Marshal Bailiff and Civil Process Functions in Los Angeles County - September 1967
Recommends that the Board take all necessary action to secure State legislation that will enable the County to consolidate the Marshal's department under the Sheriff. The report
estimates that the consolidation should result in a reduction of 110 positions and annual savings of $1.5 million.
Comment - The study was requested by the Board of Supervisors following criticism by the Grand Jury of the duplication between the Marshal and the Sheriff. The Board unanimously approved the recommendation, but legislation enabling the consolidation has been continually blocked in the State Legislature. The combined budgets of the two functions have increased from $9 million to $26 million. We estimate consolidation would now save over $3 million annually.
20. Los Angeles County Architectural Services - March 1969
Criticizes the system of selecting architects. A few favored architects received 64% of the fees awarded during the previous ten years. Contains 14 recommendations covering establishment of an Architectural Evaluation Board (AEB) to evaluate and recommend architects for County projects. Recommends detailed procedures for systematic and professional, evaluation, including performance reporting.
Comment - Adopted. Currently the County has over 200 architectural and engineering firms evaluated and listed according to size, experience, and capabilities. Every architect or engineer now appointed by the Board of Supervisors is selected from a list certified by the Architectural Evaluation Board as qualified for the particular project. Over 50 new architects have been appointed to County projects and the "favored-few club" no longer exists.
21. Consolidation of County Departments and Centralization of the Public Information Function - May 1971
Recommends that the County proceed immediately with the consolidation of hospital and health services into a single department. Recommends that the Board take every opportunity to publicize the failure of the State Legislature to pass enabling legislation to permit consolidation of the Marshal's office under the Sheriff. Recommends consolidation of public information personnel under the Chief Administrative Officer
and the establishment of a long-range organization plan for the County with clearly defined objectives.
Comment - The Health Services Department, including Veterinary Services, was established in September 1972. No further legislative action has occurred on the Marshal-Sheriff consolidation. Most public information personnel have been centralized in the Chief Administrative Office. No action has been taken on establishing a formal organization planning function.
Report on the Department of Public Administrator-Public
Recommends formation of a permanent Policy and Management Commission to advise the Board of Supervisors and the Public Administrator-Public Guardian on appropriate policies and procedures for the department. The commission would consist of five members chosen from related professions and the Public Administrator Public Guardian serving as a sixth member without vote.
Comment - Adopted. The report was prepared in response to a request by the Board of Supervisors to review a report prepared by a task force of County employees which revealed a long series of problems in the department.
23.Audit Function for the Board of Supervisors - April 1973
Analyzes Supervisor Ward's proposal to create an audit function of 15 to 20 investigators to report directly to the Board of supervisors. Comments that since the Board acts as both the legislature and chief executive, the function could not act with the independence of the General Accounting Office in Washington or the Legislative Analyst in Sacramento.
Comment - The Board took no action on the proposal. (See Report
Supervision of the Director of Regional
Recommends that the authority to appoint and supervise the Director
of Regional Planning be transferred from the Regional
Planning Commission to the Board of Supervisors.
Comment - Adopted. In May 1973, the Board of Supervisors requested the E & E Commission to conduct a study of boards and commissions which operate as department heads. This was the first report of the task force which the commission established to conduct the study. A previous report on the Civil Service Commission--one of the department head commissions--was included in the study of the civil service and collective bargaining systems. (See Report No. 9.)
25.Special Investigative and Management Audit Agency - July 1974
Recommends that a special investigative and management audit agency be established reporting directly to the Board of Supervisors. Contains five additional recommendations describing the basic structure of the agency, its responsibilities, and its manner of operation.
Comment - In June the Board requested the commission to report on two separate proposals by Supervisors Ward and Hayes to establish a special investigative and management audit agency. The supervisors were acting in response to the series of crises and problems which had erupted recently in Los Angeles County government.
On October 29, the Board voted 4-1 to establish the new unit, but with the difference that it report to the Chief Administrative Officer and operate under his direction rather than under the Board of Supervisors.
26.Report on the Business License Commission - October 1974
Contains 6 recommendations covering major changes in the operation of the Business License Commission. Recommends reducing the number of meetings required annually from a maximum of 104 to 36. This would be accomplished by transferring responsibility for routine license approvals to the License Division of the Treasurer-Tax Collector and by eliminating the responsibility of the Business License Commission to inspect hospitals. Also recommends reduction of the commission stipend from $100 a meeting to $25. The report estimates the recommendations will result
in annual savings of $61,788, equal to 51.7% of the total 1974-75 budget of the Business License Commission.
Comment - Adopted with two changes. The Board voted to reduce the number of meetings to 52 rather than 36 and reduce the stipend to $50 rather than $25. These changes will reduce the estimated savings to $52,106 annually.
In April 1976, on recommendation of the Chief Administrative Officer, the Board restored the stipend of $100 a meeting. The additional cost was offset by eliminating the position of Executive Officer to the Commission and transferring responsibility for all staff support to the Treasurer-Tax Collector.
27.Report on the Committee on Emergency Medical Care February 1975
Contains 6 recommendations reorganizing the committee and establishing by ordinance its composition, responsibilities, and principles of operation.
Comment - Adopted. In August 1974, the Board of Supervisors
requested the E & E Commission to conduct a study of all com-
missions and committees in County government and in December
1974, asked the commission specifically to review proposals for
strengthening the Committee on Emergency Medical Care.
28.Establishment of Commissions and Committees in Los Angeles County Government - June 1975
Recommends a new procedure whenever the Board initiates action to establish a commission or committee. The procedure requires the Board to request the Chief Administrative Office to prepare a report analyzing the need for the new group and whether it duplicates the work of other groups. Also recommends that each new commission or committee be established by an ordinance prescribing in detail its responsibilities, qualifications of members, and principles of operation.
Comment - Adopted. As noted in Item 27, the Board had requested the commission to study all commissions and committees in the County. There are over 100 such groups, and consequently studying all of them is a complex and lengthy process. This report was designed to apply systematic control over the creation of new commissions and committees.
29.Report on the Paramedic Committee August 1975
Recommends dissolution of the Paramedic Committee and its replacement by a new ordinance commission. The new Commission would serve as a public review and arbitration board to settle controversies between the County and other agencies involving paramedic services. The report prescribes in detail the responsibilities, composition, and operation of the Commission.
Comment - Adopted. This was another in the series of reports requested by the Board on County commissions and committees.
30.Commission Structure for the Department of Public Social Services - June 1976
Recommends the consolidation of two citizen commissions and a committee into a single commission of 11 members. Estimated savings are $119,422.
Comment - Adopted. An overlap existed in the duties of the two commissions assigned to the Department of Public Social Services--The Public Social Services Commission and the Commission to Review Public Social Services. The Board requested the Chief Administrative Officer and the E & E Commission to conduct a study of this problem.
31.Contracting for Security Services - September 1979
Collaborated with the Contract Services Advisory Committee to review security services. Recommends that the county contract with outside firms for security services and issue the requests for proposals in order to do so.
Comment - Adopted. The Board of Supervisors recommended the county issue requests for proposals for security services. One department, the Department of Parks and Recreation, has done so.
32.Management of Construction Projects in Los Angeles County Government - September 1972
Contains 18 separate recommendations. The first covers the establishment of a consolidated facilities department to concentrate under one head all major functions involved in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of County facilities. A second recommendation proposes the establishment of a centralized project management office which would be responsible for coordinating the planning, programming, design, construction, and evaluation of facility projects from beginning to end. The other 16 recommendations are designed to provide effective systems support to these two major proposals for reorganization. The report estimates that the proposed program will reduce by one year the average time for the County to acquire a facility. This would produce a savings of approximately $5 million annually.
Comment - Adopted. Because of serious problems and delays in the County construction program, the Board of Supervisors requested the commission to study the entire program and recommend improvements. The Los Angeles Technical Services Corporation provided technical assistance on this study under a contract with the County. The Facilities Department became fully operational in March 1974. See Item 38 for a commission report on the progress of the department.
33.Chief Administrative Officer's Recommended Construction Improvements Program - November 1972
Reviews the Chief Administrative Officer’s plans, as requested by the Board, to implement the commission's report on construction projects. The report supports the Chief Administrative Officer's program.
Comment - Adopted. In June 1973, after required State legislation was passed, the Board of Supervisors established the Facilities Department.
34.Design and Construction of the Criminal Courts Building
Reviews serious problems in the design and construction of the Criminal Courts Building and recommends the creation of a Special Study Committee to analyze the problems and to recommend to the Board of Supervisors the sequence of priorities and the manner and cost of correcting them. The committee would consist of representatives of the Superior and Municipal Courts, concerned County officials, the contractor, the architect, and the E & E Commission.
Comment - Adopted. The Board of Supervisors requested the study after receiving complaints by the Grand Jury and several judges of the Superior Court about faulty operation of the elevators and other unsatisfactory conditions in the recently constructed building.
In April 1973, the committee submitted a report recommending over 20 additions and modifications to correct construction and design problems. This work is completed.
35.Appointing Authority and Operating Responsibility of the Arboreta and Botanic Gardens and the Otis Art Institute - June 1974
Contains 6 recommendations on the Arboreta and 4 on the Otis Art Institute. On the Arboreta the report recommends transfer of authority to appoint the Director from the Board of Governors to the Board of Supervisors. Also recommends clarifying the responsibilities of the Board of Governors and the Director, reducing membership of the Board from 25 to 15, and eliminating the $25 stipend per meeting. On the Otis Art Institute the report recommends that the present authority of the Board of Governors to appoint the Director continue without change. Also recommends clarification of the responsibilities of the Board of Governors and elimination of the $10 stipend per meeting.
Comment - Adopted.
36.Operation of the Museum of Natural History - September 1974
Recommends that the Board of Governors continue to appoint the Director, but subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors. Also clarifies the responsibilities of the Board of Governors and the Director.
Comment - Adopted.
37.Request to Review Recommendations for Change in the Arboreta and Botanic Gardens Ordinance - May 1975
Contains 2 recommendations covering changes in the ordinance governing the operation of the Arboreta. Recommends a change in the qualifications for members of the Board of Governors. Recommends against any other changes.
Comment - Adopted. The review was requested by the Board of Supervisors at the request of several members of the Board of Governors.
38.Report on the Department of Facilities - December 1975
Reviews the progress of the department since its inception in 1974 on recommendation of the E & E Commission. Reports that the department has made substantial progress in planning and controlling the construction of County facilities and matching planned facilities to needs. Savings of $39.9 million have resulted from reprogramming or redesign of 11 major projects.
Comment - At the time the Board approved the recommendation to consolidate construction functions within a single department, it asked the E & E Commission to monitor progress of the new department.
39.Study of the Los Angeles County Charter - July 1970
Recommends that the Board place a charter amendment on the ballot to establish the position of a strong chief executive
appointed by the Board of Supervisors. The chief executive would have broad authority to manage and control County operations, including the authority to appoint and discharge department heads. Recommends that the Board place a second charter amendment on the ballot to allow the voters to decide whether the Board of Supervisors should be increased to seven members.
Comment - In July 1969, the Board of Supervisors requested the commission to conduct a study of the County Charter. The commission held twelve public meetings and heard 27 different speakers, including experts in local government and representatives of taxpayer associations, unions, and community groups.
The Board voted 4-1 to place the chief executive proposal on the ballot in the 1970 general election. Despite endorsement by the Chamber of Commerce, the California Taxpayers Association, the Property Owners Tax Association of California, the 1970 Grand Jury and most of the major newspapers and radio and television stations, the voters rejected the measure by a 54% vote.
The commission was divided on the question of increasing the membership of the Board of Supervisors. However, it was unanimous in recommending that the question be submitted
40.Charter Proposals for the 1973 Special Election - August 1973
Recommends that the Board place two charter amendments on the ballot in the November 1973 special election:(1) to establish the position of an elected County Chief Executive and (2) to expand the Board of Supervisors to seven members. The report presents the arguments for and against the two proposals but takes no position except to recommend that the voters be given the right to vote on both proposals.
Comment - The Board voted against placing either measure on the ballot by a 3-2 vote.
41.County Chief Executive and Size of the Board of Supervisors - July 1974
Recommends that the Board of Supervisors place proposals on the ballot in November and let the voters decide whether they want an appointed chief executive, an elected chief executive, or no change from the present system. Recommends that the proposal to increase the size of the Board to seven members be postponed until the chief executive question is resolved.
Comment - At a Board meeting in February 1974, Supervisor Hahn proposed an amendment to the-County Charter to establish the position of an elected County chief executive and to increase the size of the Board to seven members. At the same meeting Supervisor Schabarum proposed an amendment to establish the position of an appointed chief executive. The Board voted to continue its decisions these proposals until July. In the meantime it requested the Grand Jury and the E & E Commission to submit reports on these issues by that date.
The task force conducting the study and the full commission unanimously agreed that a single chief executive is critically needed in Los Angeles County government. However, both the task force and the commission were divided approximately evenly on whether the executive should be appointed or elected.
At a public hearing in August 1974, the Board received and filed the report and took no action on the recommendation.
42.County Propositions A and B - Elected Mayor and Size of the Board of Supervisors - October 1976
Recommends support of Proposition A on the November ballot, a charter amendment to establish the position of an elected County Mayor. Makes no recommendation on Proposition B, also on the November ballot, to increase the size of the Board of Supervisors to nine members.
Comment - The propositions were the result of a year-long study by the Public Commission on County government, a study sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association and funded by the Haynes Foundation. Both propositions were defeated in the November election, Proposition A by 57% and Proposition B by 64%.
43.The Los Angeles County Budget - Selected Issues and Recommendations - June 1977
Contains 16 recommendations involving budgetary policies and procedures which have a fundamental impact on the County budget. The report reviews three major areas of public policy. Six recommendations involve policies affecting local sources of revenue, such as increasing and extending user charges. Six recommendations involve policies which control organization and compensation, such as craft wages and workers compensation. Four recommendations involve decentralization of facilities and services, such as number and dispersion of branch offices.
Comment - The Board commended the commission for the report and referred it to the Chief Administrative Office (CAO) for review. The CAO agreed with six recommendations and recommended no action in ten. The County has made progress in same areas, such as improving control over organization and adopting a strong negotiating position. In such areas as user charges, craft wages, workers compensation, and contracting for services, little progress has been made.
44.Proposition 13 in Los Angeles County Government: Before and After - February 1980
Reviews Board of Supervisors' imposed economies to slow annual growth of intergovernmental budget and of welfare administration costs and reform in civil service procedures prior to 1978. Concludes that Proposition 13 introduced two new elements into county governance: (1) an accelerated shift of resources from local programs to state programs and (2) service level reductions.
Comment - Adopted. The county has influenced state legislation to increase the interest rates on court judgments and to increase filing fees. The law to raise the interest rates, adopted by the Legislature, increases them to 10% rather than to the market rates, as recommended by the Commission. The bill on filing fees is still pending in the Legislature.
The Board of Supervisors has also influenced legislation to consolidate the Sheriff and Marshal into one department. That
legislation is in draft.
45.Fire Protection Services in Los Angeles County - June 1972
Reviews in detail the serious deficiencies in the overall system of providing fire protection services in Los Angeles County. At that time the system consisted of 43 separate fire departments, many of which employed no more than 30 to 40 firemen. If fire stations were located so that their response areas did not overlap, 48 of 378 stations could be closed at a savings of $9 to $10 million annually. Recommends that cities which operate their own departments examine closely other alternatives which offer a significant potential for reducing costs and improving the quality of fire protection service. The three principal alternatives recommended are:(1) intercity consolidation through a joint
powers authority, (2) contracting for service from another city, and (3) annexation to the Consolidated Fire Protection District.
Comment - The Board approved the report for distribution to all cities in the County operating fire departments. The League of California Cities called the report "without doubt one of the most significant studies of fire protection problems in metropolitan areas ever written." Although a number of cities have conducted studies on possible consolidations through joint powers, no mergers have been effected. Three cities--South Gate, Claremont, and Whittier--discontinued their separate fire departments in 1975 and joined the Consolidated Fire Protection District.
Currently, the District is preparing feasibility studies for Vernon, Santa Fe Springs, and Alhambra. The City of San Fernando has voted to discontinue its fire department and contract for services from the City of Los Angeles.
46.Challenge for the 1980's: Can We Govern Ourselves? - January 1979
Reviews the current system of governments in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the problems which the present structure creates. Rejects change through the establishment of a City-County of Los Angeles or through a single metropolitan government covering all of Los Angeles County. Concludes that federated governmental system is a desirable structural goal. Recommends 7 legislative actions necessary to support progress toward that goal.
Comment - The Board of Supervisors adopted the report for distribution, discussion, and dissemination purposes. Its specific recommendations are not ones which the Board can unilaterally effect. The commission sponsored a dissemination conference on May 5, 1979, for 80 officials of state and local governments and representatives of community organizations. Support for the goal of a federated government is articulated, but little progress has been made to implement the steps proposed to assure its establishment.
47.Filling Vacant Elective Offices in Los Angeles County -November 1975
Recommends against using special elections to fill vacant positions on the Board of Supervisors or in the other three elective County offices--Assessor, District Attorney, and Sheriff. Principal reasons are cost--$4 to $8 million for special Countywide elections; $800,000 to $1.6 million for supervisorial elections--and difficulties in scheduling such elections because of conflict with regular elections.
Comment - The Board has taken no action to change the present appointment system in filling vacant offices.