L.A. Council members call for more control over housing authority
Frustrated by reports of lavish spending and a high-priced employee payout, three members of the Los Angeles City Council called Tuesday for direct oversight of the beleaguered Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, saying state and federal law should be changed to make the agency more accountable to city leaders.
Council members Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti and Dennis Zine introduced a motion calling for Gov. Jerry Brown and leaders of the California Legislature to work with the Housing and Urban Development Department to change the law that spells out governance at the housing authority.
Under the current system, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appoints the seven board members who oversee the housing authority, which is considered partly removed from city government. But the council lacks the ability to review, approve or reject its spending decisions -– a power it has over many city departments. Perry said the council should have had the ability to review not only longstanding reimbursement practices –- the focus of reports by City Controller Wendy Greuel and KCET -– but also the $1.2 million payout to Rudy Montiel, who was fired last spring as the housing authority’s top executive.
“It’s not only the magnitude of the settlement but the actions [at the housing authority] that led up to it,” she said.
The controversy swirling around the housing authority has been seized upon by citywide candidates in the 2013 election. Garcetti, Perry and Greuel are running for mayor in 2013, while Zine is running for city controller.
-- David Zahniser and Jessica Garrison at Los Angeles City Hall
Photo: Rudy Montiel received a $1.2-milion payout when he was ousted in March. Credit: Los Angeles Times