L.A. RATES A C; CITIES GRADED ON GOVERNING L.A. MANAGEMENT RATED LOW.Byline: Bill Hillburg Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. did poorly in a nationwide survey that examined the management of America's 35 largest cities, getting the grade of C.
While Phoenix and Austin, Texas, got A's and more than half of the cities surveyed got B's, Los Angeles fell below the national average in the five areas studied. It also fell behind the four other California cities surveyed.
The report card, to be released today, is billed as the most comprehensive study to date of city operations and performance. It was compiled and issued by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs is according to U.S. News & World Report the leading  public policy school offering master degrees in Public Affairs in the United States. at Syracuse University Syracuse University, main campus at Syracuse, N.Y.; coeducational; chartered 1870, opened 1871. Syracuse is noted for its research programs in government and industry; facilities include the Center for Science and Technology, the Newhouse Communications Center, and in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of .
Los Angeles officials took solace in the city's best grade, which was a B-minus in financial management.
But L.A.'s C-minus ratings for human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. , information technology and managing for results, coupled with a C-plus grade in capital management, dragged the city's's average down to a C.
Asked about the rankings, City Councilman Mike Feuer acknowledged the need to improve.
``To the extent that a report like this does spur a discussion as to the best way to deliver services, then it can be helpful,'' said Feuer, who is chairman of the council's Budget and Finance Committee and vice chairman of the Government Efficiency Committee.
San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. secession leaders said the city's grade bolsters their contention that breaking up Los Angeles into two or more smaller cities would improve delivery of public services Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing private provision of services. .
``The study shows that the dissatisfaction of the public in Los Angeles is warranted,'' said Richard Close, chairman of Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment. ``The evidence keeps mounting that L.A. is just not an effective government and that smaller cities tend to be more efficient.''
Researchers, who culled data through surveys of local officials, follow-up interviews and contributions from Wall Street municipal finance experts, determined the final grades by rating the cities in financial management, human resources, information technology, capital management and managing for results.
Patricia W. Ingraham, director of the Government Performance Project, stressed that the report and grading system for cities are designed to be instructive. ``This study provides city leaders with tools to identify what's working and what is not in city management.''
Phoenix, which received high praise from researchers in all five categories, topped the survey with an overall grade of A. Austin, Texas, placed second with an overall A-minus rating.
The two lowest-rated cities, both with overall grades of C-minus, were Buffalo and New Orleans New Orleans (ôr`lēənz –lənz, ôrlēnz`), city (2006 pop. 187,525), coextensive with Orleans parish, SE La., between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, 107 mi (172 km) by water from the river mouth; founded .
``A factor common to the cities that scored high in management - and those with momentum - is strong leadership,'' Ingraham said. ``Where there is strong leadership, there is a well-run city that attracts residents and visitors and revenue.''
Researchers said Los Angeles city's finances are well-managed in a number of areas including use of debt, cash management and financial reporting. But the city's ability to estimate expenditures has been less than impressive.
James T. Sobject, chief administrative analyst for the city's Finance Division and a participant in the Government Performance Project's surveys, cited problems such as rapidly rising overtime costs in the fire and sanitation departments.
The Los Angeles city Fire Department woes were pinned to a variety of causes, including a sexual harassment sexual harassment, in law, verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, aimed at a particular person or group of people, especially in the workplace or in academic or other institutional settings, that is actionable, as in tort or under equal-opportunity statutes. scandal that temporarily put all hiring on hold and an unexpectedly high attrition and retirement rate.
In the human resources area, researchers found fault with a Los Angeles hiring process that can take from three to six months and a distinct lack of accurate data on the size and scope of the city's work force.
Los Angeles was also found lacking in the area of information technology, where shortcomings A shortcoming is a character flaw.
Shortcomings may also be:
Los Angeles' capital management efforts were judged adequate. The city was cited for its move to provide grass-roots monitoring of major projects through the establishment of a Citizen's Oversight Committee.
In the same category, the city's capital outlays to attract new business were considered effective, while those aimed at upgrading the city's infrastructure were found to be lagging. The report specifically noted that Los Angeles repaved only 220 miles of its 6,500 miles of roads in 1999.
Los Angeles' efforts at managing for results were also judged as below average, with researchers stressing that the city has no overall strategic plan for the future.
``The city needs to be doing a better job in identifying our priorities and organizing government to address those priorities,'' Feuer said.
``I think it's important that the mayor and the City Council get ahead of the curve together,'' he explained. ``We were elected for one reason, to solve problems. We need to address needs before they become crises.''
All other California cities graded beat Los Angeles.
L.A.'s neighbor, Long Beach, which has had to remake its local economy in the wake of post-Cold War Navy base closings and aerospace industry cutbacks, earned an A-minus score in the area of financial management. It was one of the highest grades in that category for any city in the survey. San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. rated a B and San Jose San Jose, city, United States
San Jose (sănəzā`, săn hōzā`), city (1990 pop. 782,248), seat of Santa Clara co., W central Calif.; founded 1777, inc. 1850. a B-minus overall. San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden earned a C-plus.
Full results of the report, which was financed with a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts Pew Charitable Trusts, philanthropic foundation established (1948) by the children of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew (1886–1963) of Philadelphia to provide funds for "general religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes. , are to be published in the February issue of Governing Magazine Governing is a national monthly magazine, edited and published since 1987 in Washington, D.C., whose subject area is state and local government in the United States. The magazine covers policy, politics and the management of government enterprises. , a trade journal for local government managers and elected officials.
The report is the third issued by the Government Performance Project. In 1998, the project applied their five criteria to a survey of all 50 states. California rated a C-minus. Topping the list with A-minus grades were Missouri, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Alabama was given a national-low grade of D.
- Staff Writer Michael Coit contributed to this report.
Chart: CITY GRADES
A report card compiled and issued by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in New York rates management in the nation's 35 biggest cities.
Kansas City Kansas City, two adjacent cities of the same name, one (1990 pop. 149,767), seat of Wyandotte co., NE Kansas (inc. 1859), the other (1990 pop. 435,146), Clay, Jackson, and Platte counties, NW Mo. (inc. 1850). B-
Long Beach B
Los Angeles C
New Orleans C-
New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. B
San Antonio B
San Jose B-
San Francisco C+
San Diego B
Virginia Beach B+
Washington, D.C. C+