So, remember back in June when the Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee was supposed to get a report about what goes on with the millions of dollars of we get through the Workforce Investment Act?
Back then, the Committee couldn’t discuss the issue as scheduled because staff failed to submit a report on the issue. When asked why there was no report, then-acting Community and Economic Development Agency Director Dan Lindheim helpfully informed the Committee that “There’s no report because there’s no report written.” When pressed further about why no report had been written, Lindheim added “I can answer that in about three different ways, none of which are going to be satisfactory to you.” The Committee then rescheduled the item for their first post-recess meeting, to which Lindheim responded that they could schedule the item for whenever they wanted, but he wasn’t going to write a report by that date.
So the first post-recess CED Committee happened on Tuesday, and I bet you’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering whether they ended up discussing the issue or not. They didn’t.
The whole thing was bizarre. So, there was, at least, a report (PDF) this time. I, personally, found the report really odd and difficult to understand. I thought that maybe the problem was with me, though. Maybe the West Nile Virus I seem to have picked up on vacation was hurting my reading comprehension capacity or something. So then I sent it to two of the smartest people I know and asked them what they thought, and both agreed that the report was weird. One agreeing with my own assessment, suggested “it’s written to be deliberately confusing and unreadable.” The other said he doubted it was bad on purpose, just very hastily and poorly prepared.
Anyway, so since I didn’t really understand the report, I was really looking forward to hearing the discussion about it at CED, hoping things would get cleared up there. But nope. When the item came up, Dellums’s Deputy Chief of Staff Leslie Littleton stood up at the podium, which struck me as really odd, since I thought the information was supposed to come from CEDA (The Workforce Development Department is a division of the Community and Economic Development Agency). So then Jane Brunner is all “Did you write this report?” And she’s all “No.” Then Lindheim explains that the report was prepared by someone else who was contracted by the Mayor’s office, but that that person couldn’t, for reasons I didn’t understand, speak to the City Council. All this was news to Brunner, who said that she had spoken with the Mayor’s Intergovernmental Affairs staff about the issue the previous day, and they had apparently forgotten to mention that the author of the report wouldn’t be presenting it to them.
There was some more confusing talk, and the Committee ended up having to reschedule the item again, for their next meeting, on October 14th. Anyway, I explain all this just to point out that we’re talking about an awful lot of money that’s getting spent with no oversight or accountability. Even when the Council tries to exercise oversight, they’re thwarted in their attempts by the bureaucracy and the Mayor. Nice.