Friday, July 23, 2010

The post-Phyllis Daugherty Dept. of Animal Services--Enter: Brenda Barnette

 In response to Ed Muzika's call to "stop" Phyllis Daugherty.

It's almost like we need to teach people how to participate in their government in this town. Why is that? Look at the last mayoral election. Pitiful, yet everyone complains about AV.

What is it about this city that makes people whine but do nothing?

Yes, chances are that no council members will be in their seats when you make your public comment. They're in the back making deals. Still, you must go if you are able. You can get free parking from your council district office with a phone call.

There was a time..oh... 5 years ago...when people besides Phyllis went to Animal Services Commissioners' Board  meetings. At night, on an off campus meeting (4x a year) there might have  be 100 people or more. Even in the daytime there were more than just Phyllis in her regular seat.

People gave up on the Board/Commission (it's a "Board" of Commissioners BTW...not a Commission). They are thought of as a rubber stamp and a lot of times they have been. Conscientious and courageous Commissioners have resigned or been fired for speaking their true opinions and trying to effect real change. Elections for officers are often fixed by the Mayor's office.

So why participate? Because only you can change it. I can't even count the number of times I have moved the Board or the Department to submit to the law. I was loud--persistent. They couldn't take it anymore and gave in.  Today, the last 5 months of meeting minutes were posted on the Board's LAAS page. Why? Because I demanded it...openly. Why were they withheld for so long when they had been approved a long time ago? Guess. The Secretary forgot? No. By design. Whose design? Guess.

Look at the city clerk's site. Search "animal." See how much LAAS legislation has been slammed through which you probably know nothing about since Boks left. Who did this? Kathy Davis? The Board?

Don't call Phyllis or email her or harass her. She's excercising her rights from her one-person "movement." The only way to defeat her...if that's your to play the same game and outnumber her and out-argue her. These council members get antsy when the public shows up and get more "reasonable" and fair-minded. Magically. So show up.

Sadly, there are no night Board meetings this year. Budget cuts-- but that suits Linda Barth just fine. I think it's $400 per meeting for security and whatever. I can raise that. Do you think they'll accept it? I'm sure Barnette will like the idea of night meetings. We'll see. There will be changes big and small.

Personally, I'm hoping that Barth's (Phyllis has WAY too much influence over Barth) head rolls right over to another Department. Anybody?
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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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