Laura Chick's state post eliminated

Former city Controller Laura Chick sent an email release announcing that Governor-elect Jerry Brown's transition team has let her know they will be shutting off funds for her state office of inspector general. No hard feelings, Chick writes: "The Governor-elect faces an extremely difficult job in grappling with the severity of the state budget crisis. He received an overwhelming mandate by the voters to make tough decisions, and I wish him the very best during the months ahead." Her statement is after the jump.

Meanwhile: Chick's successor on the City Council, Dennis Zine, is dating a lobbyist who says helpfully that it's "a well-known fact" that Zine dates "quite a few young ladies in downtown Los Angeles."

December 20, 2010

Dear Friends:

The journey of life occasionally encounters unexpected twists and turns, and I recently received word of one such unfortunate turn from Governor-elect Brown's transition team. The incoming administration will eliminate the Office of the Inspector General, which oversees the state's spending of the Recovery Act funds, as of January 1, 2011.

The Governor-elect faces an extremely difficult job in grappling with the severity of the state budget crisis. He received an overwhelming mandate by the voters to make tough decisions, and I wish him the very best during the months ahead.

I want to thank Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his commitment to opening up government operations to the light of day. His creation of the Inspector General's Office to scrutinize the state's spending of stimulus dollars was unprecedented in the nation. With this singular move he put California in the lead in its oversight of these taxpayer dollars.

Creating this office sent a potent message: We are watching. Working with the four U.S. Attorneys, Federal Inspectors General, U.S. Attorney General, district attorneys and local officials, we formed a highly connected and coordinated oversight team to discourage waste and fraud before it occurs.

Most importantly I want to acknowledge my tiny powerhouse team. Their drive, determination and commitment more than compensated for their small numbers, pushing government to do things smarter and better.

From High Speed Rail to county social service programs, from Redding to San Bernardino, we unearthed problems and made commonsense recommendations for improvement. In less than a year since my office attained a strike team of auditors, we have released 27 reports uncovering 100 issues and making 48 recommendations for change.

However, there is much more work to be done. The Recovery Act was passed into law nearly two years ago, but half the money coming to California has yet to be spent. At this half-way point I have written Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor-elect Brown with my observations of the Recovery Act. You can read my letter on my website at www.inspectorgeneral.ca.gov.

It has been an honor to serve the people of California the last 20 months and, of course, to serve the people of Los Angeles for 16 years in elective office. I don't know precisely where my journey goes from here, but I am ready and eager to see what's next.

I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and joyous 2011.

All my best,
LAURA


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