Wed, Aug

Citizens Panel will Use Experienced Headhunter in Search for LA’s Ratepayer Advocate

LA WATCHDOG - The Citizens Committee for the Appointment of the Executive Director of the Office of Public Accountability (the “Citizens Committee”) met for the second time on Wednesday afternoon at City Hall.

Importantly, the Citizens Committee voted to retain an executive search firm to assist in the recruitment and selection of a qualified candidate.

At the top of the list is Korn/Ferry International, a Los Angeles headquartered company that was responsible for the recruitment of Ron Nichols, the new and respected General Manager of our Department of Water and Power.

As a result of this extensive nationwide search, Korn/Ferry has a strong working knowledge of DWP, a critical qualification if the selection of an Executive Director / Ratepayers Advocate (the “Ratepayers Advocate’) is to be completed in the recommended 60 day timeframe.

The other two candidates are based in Sacramento, a definite negative, and do not have the private sector experience or relationships that are absolutely critical to conduct a wide ranging search for a qualified Ratepayers Advocate on a timely basis.

Korn/Ferry’s job is complicated by the fact that the Villaraigosa-Garcetti led City Council has not drafted the necessary ordinances to define the role, the responsibilities, and the budget of the Ratepayers Advocate.  

The City’s Personnel Department has also clearly demonstrated that is does not have the expertise or leadership to define the role, responsibilities, qualifications, and compensation requirements of the Ratepayers Advocate, in large part because our Ratepayers Advocate and the level of experience and expertise that is necessary is the first of its kind in the United States.  

As a result, Korn/Ferry will need to assist the Citizens Committee in developing a detailed job description for the RPA and the appropriate level of compensation that is needed to attract a senior person with the management experience, industry expertise, and financial wherewithal who is comfortable working with many different political constituencies in an open and transparent manner.  

One interesting question from the Citizens Committee involved the relationship of the Ratepayers Advocate with the IBEW, the DWP’s domineering union.  

As was envisioned in the Term Sheet that was an integral part of the six DWP Reform Panel Hearings throughout the City last year, the Ratepayers Advocate will not set water and power rates, dictate policy, or make management decisions.  And in the same vein, the Ratepayers Advocate will not negotiate the DWP’s labor agreements with the IBEW as that is the responsibility of the Executive Employee Relations Committee, the super secretive body lead by Mayor Villaraigosa and Council President Garcetti.

However, the Ratepayers Advocate will have the right to be able to review, analyze, evaluate, and comment on any such matters, including, for example, the IBEW Labor Premium or the “salary and pension reduction strategies” outlined by Bernard Parks and Jan Perry in their August 9, 2011 letter to the Executive Employee Relations Committee. [Parks-Perry Letter]

As for the Citizens Committee, individual members will have to roll up their sleeves and work closely with Korn/Ferry in implementing an effective search, starting with the job description and compensation requirements, and then developing a list of suitable candidates, reviewing the results and findings of Korn/Ferry’s preliminary inquiries, determining which candidates are acceptable to interview in person, interviewing these candidates, and eventually selecting the Ratepayers Advocate.

At the same time, the Citizens Committee, along with the Ratepayers, need to monitor the status and content of the implementing ordinances and any other factors that impact the successful search for a qualified Ratepayers Advocate.  

And all in 60 days!

We need a “well funded, empowered, and truly independent Ratepayers Advocate to oversee the operations, finances, and management of DWP on a timely and continuous basis.”

78% of the voters agree.  

Note: The Citizens Commission will hold its third meeting on Thursday, October 6 at 3 PM at City Hall in Room 1060.  

On October 6, 1868, the Reno Gang carried out the first robbery of a moving train in Jackson County, Indiana.  It would be a real tragedy if the Proposition 26 Gang bushwhacked the DWP Money Train on its way to City Hall.  

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:   [email protected] ) –cw

Tags: Jack Humphreville, Ratepayer Advocate, headhunter, Ratepayer Advocate search

Vol 9 Issue 79
Pub: Oct 4, 2011