Monday, July 19, 2010

About those meeting minutes...and the Board Secretary, Ross Pool

For as long as I've known there was  Department of Animal Services Board of Commissioners, Ross Pool, a Management Analyst (grade/salary/job description unknown), has been it's Secretary. Unlike other Boards and Commissions, this Board/staff seems to like to give Pool power that is not within the job description of Secretary. One of those powers is to pretend to be a Commissioner. Others are to open and close the meetings, determine agenda items, comment on agenda items, re-arrange their order and, in general , to be a pompous ass.

Los Angeles Charter and Administrative Code references:
Sec. 21.3.  Assignment of Employee as Commission Secretary.
     As required by Charter Section 504, the general manager of each department under the control and management of a general manager shall assign an employee of that department, other than a member of the board, as the secretary to the board of commissioners of the department, if any. The Council may by ordinance, at the request of the general manager concerned, combine the position of secretary with any other position in any departmentThe board of each department under the control of a board of commissioners shall assign an employee of that department, other than a member of the board,  as the secretary to the board of commissioners.

I know of no record where this Board assigned Ross Pool to this position. I'll ask (LOL). I also know of no Council ordinance which permits Pool to hold both a "management analyst" position AND the position of Board Secretary. I'll ask about that, too. If neither exists, then there is a violation (s) of the Administrative code by this Board and the General Managers and/or interim general managers.

Sec. 21.4.  Duties of the Secretary.

   The secretary of each board created by the Charter or by ordinance shall keep a record of the proceedings and transactions of the board, specifying the names of the commissioners at all meetings and giving the ayes and noes upon all votes. The secretary shall post and publish all orders, resolutions and notices which the board shall order to be posted or published, and shall perform such other duties as are imposed upon him or her by the Charter, ordinance, or order of the board.

Why should we care? Because, for one (there are many issues concerning Pool's "work" as secretary and more of them will be reported in forthcoming blog posts), there have been no minutes of Board meetings posted since the posting of minutes for a February meeting. Normally, at each Board meeting, there is an item in which the Board is asked to approve the minutes as compiled by Pool. Often, Commissioners request changes to the minutes to reflect what actually happened and what was said, rather than Pool's often bent interpretation of what was said and/or done. Often, at subsequent meetings, Pool does not make the requested changes or the changes are just ignored either by Pool or at the direction of whichever person seems to be controlling the Board at a given time. Since Boks's demise, it has been Linda Barth (and Jim Bickhart since forever) who controls the Board, what they may place on their agendas and when.

All of this obstruction serves the purpose of keeping the public in the dark. In order to determine what happened at a Board meeting, one must either attend on a weekday at 10:00 a.m (call first..they may have canceled due to a  controversial issue being threatened to be addressed by the public) or download a gigantic 30+megabytes file of audio and wade through the whole thing. I suppose you could call Barth and ask her or call Pool, but that is not what is supposed to happen and you are not likely to get a straight answer, if any.

Sec. 21.20.  Applicability of Charter Provision 506.

     Each city department, office or commission created by ordinance shall comply with Charter Section 506, unless expressly provided otherwise by ordinance.

(To be continued...)

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