Thursday, City Controller Wendy Greuel released findings on her audit of how the City of Los Angeles has used its $111 million in stimulus dollars, otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds.
Specifically Wendy Greuel looked at how many jobs have been created by the two agencies who got the most funds.
What she found passes well beyond horrifying and enters the realm of profound laughability. (It’s either that, or one begins sobbing.)
For $111 million dollars we got ourselves….55 jobs.
No, wait, I take that back. We got 54.46 jobs.
This is from her press release:
DPW has received $70.65 million and created or retained 45.46 jobs, though they are expected to create 238 jobs overall (the fraction of a job created or retained correlates to the number of actual hours works).
LADOT has been awarded $40.8 million and created or retained 9 jobs, though they are expected to create 26 jobs overall.
Overall, the Departments have received $111 million in federal stimulus funds out of the $594 million the City has been awarded so far and created or retained 54.46 jobs.
With a 12 percent unemployment rate in the city, this is not encouraging.
The LA Times has done some further reporting on the subject and quotes the city’s CAO as saying loads of jobs have been created.
Here’s a clip:
The reports conclude that two agencies – Public Works and Transportation — have moved too slowly in spending the money, in part because of the time it takes to secure approval of government contracts. The two agencies plan to create or retain 264 jobs once all the money is spent, according to the reports.
Greuel said that with unemployment above 12%, city officials should move more urgently to spend the money and reduce red tape. “The process needs to be changed to make sure we get these projects out as quickly as possible,” she said.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa referred questions to City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the top budget official. Santana would not comment on the audit but offered his own set of figures for stimulus spending citywide, which were sharply different from Greuel’s.
“I haven’t seen her numbers,” he said. “I can tell you what I do know, which is that, in what we’ve spent so far, those dollars created 936 jobs in the month of June. And we’ve only spent 13% of what we’ve received,” he said. Santana said his numbers apply to every agency in the city, not just the two examined by the controller.