A judge has ruled that the Los Angeles city controller does not have the powers to conduct performance audits of the other elected city officials, siding with City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. He had sued then-Controller Laura Chick to block an audit, saying the city charter did not empower her to swoop in. Superior Court Judge Mark V. Mooney apparently agreed, and ruled that the controller can't audit other city offices either, eliciting a harshly worded reaction from Chick:
I am saddened that the will of the voters has been thwarted by politicians who wish to roll back greater transparency and return to an era of backroom deals and secrecy. My hope is that there will be an initiative campaign that will put this question directly to the voters where this belongs.
More after the jump, including praise from Delgadillo.
Chick, now the state inspector general, continues:
The judge clearly did not understand the arguments and the issues. His decision negates the direction that the President of the United States is trying to take this nation, one of greater accountability and transparency not less. In fact, the judge’s decision not only disallows the City’s independently elected City Controller from auditing programs housed in elected official’s offices, he goes further and now precludes performance audits of any office in the city including the offices of the City Clerk, the Treasurer, Finance and Chief Administrative Officer. These are offices that have already been scrutinized in performance audits over the last 8 years, all of which showed areas that needed significant change and improvement.
We are pleased that the Court has upheld the longstanding position of the City Attorney's Office that the City Charter prohibits one elected official from auditing the performance of another.
This decision reaffirms that the responsibility to evaluate the performance of elected officials rests solely with the residents of the City and not with politicians advancing their political agendas.