LA Mayor Garcetti Ignore Report on Police Funding Waste

A Los Angeles Times report has been released claiming that Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and other city governments officials had ignored a 2016 report that detailed monetary waste in the budget for the city's police and fire departments. The Deferred Retirement Option Plan allows veteran cops and firefighters to collect both their salaries and pensions at the same time. The report in question strongly suggests DROP either be heavily modified or ended completely.

The report, which was compiled by City Administration Officer Miguel Santana which argued that the program was never cost-neutral despite promises that the program would be when taxpayers voted for it in 2001. Santana reported that officers had been getting paid twice their normal salary while on injury leave that would last years, draining the budget’s coffers. Recipients would often take longer and more frequent leaves than non-recipients. Santana had also believed the program’s goal— keeping cops on the force after the Rampart scandal— had been met while the program had continued. Furthermore, the program applied to firefighters who were never in any danger of being short handed.

Santana had presented his findings to Mayor Garcetti and the Executive Employee Relations Committee in February 2016. Since then, nothing has been done to amend the DROP program. When pressed, Mayor Garcetti called on a fresh examination of the DROP Program, stating that the city would maintain the program if it produced a positive demonstrative effect on law enforcement, insisting that the program would not be kept simply because it is there. The DROP Program fixes a flat pension rate for a recipient and does not factor subsequent raises, presumably benefiting the taxpayers in the process. Much of the effectiveness of the program also depends on how much the recipient is able to actually work during their tenure as opposed to being on leave. One amendment Garcetti is now looking into is suspending the payment of pensions to officers on injury leave.

The mayor said the reason the report was effectively ignored and that unions representatives were not summoned was due to uncertainty in the figures Santana provided. Other members of the Executive Employee Relations Committee echoes this belief with Councilman Paul Koretz believing Santana’s report was ill-developed and influenced by anti-union bias. Police and Firefighter unions often are heavily contributors to LA city politics though Koretz insists they do not influence him.


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