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Judge rules that L.A. controller lacks authority to audit elected officials

December 15, 2009 |  2:50 pm
The Los Angeles city controller does not have the legal authority to conduct performance audits on the city attorney or any other elected official, including the mayor and members of the City Council, a judge ruled today.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mark V. Mooney found that the City Charter, the city’s primary governing blueprint, did not grant the controller the power to evaluate the city attorney’s handling of workers’ compensation issues.

The ruling stems from a disagreement that began last year when then-City Atty. Rock Delgadillo refused to allow then-City Controller Laura Chick to audit the workers’ compensation program managed by his office. Chick responded by issuing subpoenas to six Delgadillo employees. Delgadillo then sued her.

Both Delgadillo and Chick termed out of office in July. But the case was picked up by new Controller Wendy Greuel and new City Atty. Carmen Trutanich.

Greuel said she believes the judge misinterpreted the law and that she plans to appeal the ruling.

“I was elected to fight for efficiency and to represent taxpayers in Los Angeles, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do," Greuel said.

-- Phil Willon at L.A. City Hall