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Chick plans to vote for Trutanich

April 15, 2009 |  1:55 pm

In her new role as state inspector general monitoring the disbursement of federal stimulus funds in California, Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick said she was not making any political endorsements.

But she came close today at a news conference with L.A. City Atty. candidate Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich, where she said she would be voting for the San Pedro attorney.

Trutanich faces a runoff for the office May 19 with Westside Councilman Jack Weiss.

Today's event outside City Hall was intended to showcase Trutanich’s position on an issue dear to Chick’s heart: whether the controller should be able to audit programs run by the city’s elected officials.

Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo blocked Chick’s efforts to audit a workers' compensation program within his office last year. When Chick subpoenaed some of his employees, Delgadillo sued her, arguing that the controller was not permitted under the city charter to conduct performance audits of programs run out of the offices of elected city officials.

If elected, Trutanich said, he would ask the council for permission to issue a new legal opinion giving the controller authority to audit any city department, and he said he would welcome a baseline performance audit of the city attorney’s office.

“We need today to be the watchdog of our dollars that are being given to the government, and as the next city attorney I pledge to be independent, to be accountable and to be transparent,” he said. 

In a statement, Trutanich characterized Delgadillo’s lawsuit as “a waste of taxpayer funds” and a “regrettable diversion from the business of open government.”

Chick, who had endorsed another candidate in the primary, said Trutanich was “dedicated to restoring honesty, integrity, accountability and transparency to City Hall. I think he’ll make an outstanding city attorney.”

Chick said Weiss was “missing in action” when the council voted down her proposal to ask voters through a ballot measure whether the controller should have the power to audit all city programs. Weiss has also said he will have an “open door” for audits by the city controller if elected.

The outgoing controller underscored that she wasn’t officially endorsing Trutanich, but when pressed said she planned to cast her ballot for the San Pedro attorney.

-- Maeve Reston