LA WATCHDOG--Paul Koretz announced that he wants to be our next Controller. He cites his familiarity with the City’s budget, his focus on fiscal responsibility, his passion for efficiency, and his thirty years in politics.
Excuse me. Paul Koretz as Controller. Are you kidding?
As a member of the Executive Employee Relations Committee (“EERC”), he was one of five fiscally irresponsible members that negotiated and approved the recent budget busting labor contracts that blew a $1.6 billion hole in the City’s finances over the next 4½ years. The City went from a balanced budget for this fiscal year to a $200 million deficit. And the $200 million projected surplus over the next four years is now a $1.2 billion river of red ink.
The EERC also approved these labor arrangements knowing full well that they will result in massive deficits that will impact the City’s budget and services for years into the future.
Not only did the Koretz participate in approving these budget busting labor contracts covering the Police and Fire Departments, as Chair of the Personnel Committee, Koretz orchestrated a coverup by limiting discussion in his committee of these Memorandums of Understanding and their financial impact on the City’s budget.
The Herb Wesson led City Council continued the coverup by approving these contacts on consent calendar without any discussion. Never did the details see the light of day.
No wonder the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City has endorsed Koretz.
As Chair of the Personnel Committee, Koretz has had his head in the sand about the City’s two underfunded pensions. Bowing to wishes of the public sector unions, Koretz has refused to create a Pension Commission, as recommended by the LA 2020 Commission, to review and analyze the City’s two underfunded pension plans and to develop recommendations to eliminate the $15 billion liability.
Instead, Koretz has supported more liberal assumptions that would result in lower contribution to the City’s seriously underfunded pension plans. Fortunately, the trustees of the pension plans rejected his efforts and relied on the advice of the City’s actuaries.
Unfortunately, Koretz’ passion for efficiency does not include the benchmarking the efficiency of the City’s operations, a common procedure for any enterprise with over 30,000 employees and $10 billion in annual expenditures, but opposed by the City’s public sector unions.
And as for his thirty years of political experience, not counting his many years as an aide to numerous politicians, this is a liability because Koretz is part of the political machine which does not want any “watchdog” to oversee the City’s budget and services. If Koretz was so gung ho on transparency, he would have endorsed the recommendation of the LA 2020 Commission to establish an independent Office of Transparency and Accountability to oversee the City’s budget in real time and to provide Angelenos and the media with detailed information and critical analyses about the City’s finances and operations.
For what it is worth, Koretz’ candidacy is supported by three of the other fiscally irresponsible members of the EERC, Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President and wannabe County Supervisor Herb Wesson, and City Council President-Elect Nury Martinez.
Koretz is not qualified to be our Controller, especially since he was one of the parties responsible for giving away the store to the campaign funding leaders of the City’s public sector unions.
Koretz is and will never be a watchdog. He will not be the guardian of the hen house. He will be the fox in the hen house.
By Ed Folven
December 31, 2019
By Tim Deegan
02 January 2020
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)