Dear Neighborhood Council Leaders,
I hope you are well. By now, you've no doubt received a few emails regarding CAO proposed changes to the 2014 Neighborhood Council election funding. I've received questions regarding the proposals and wanted to send out this bulletin to clarify the potential options.
Last Friday, I sent out emails to the heads of the various coalitions around the City after the Mayor's Office asked me to assist in getting the Neighborhood Council Board members' feedback on various CAO proposals for Neighborhood Councils to fund their elections through their yearly allocations. The Budget Team needed feedback as soon as possible because they are preparing the Mayor's budget, which will be released on April 19, 2013.
Because Proposition A did not pass, the City is working to close a $100 plus million dollar budget gap for the coming fiscal year. To do this, the Mayor's Budget Team and the CAO are looking at further reductions to the Mayor's Office, City Council and all City programs, which aside from Neighborhood Council elections, include programs serving all Angelenos from the maintenance and repair of infrastructure to graffiti abatement to housing programs. The Mayor's Budget Team is open to considering options that could reduce the impact to the General Fund. Rather than cut now and tell afterwards, the Mayor's Office and the Department are reaching out to explain the shortfall and engage the Neighborhood Councils in the process.
To cover the approximately $692,000 Department budget request to administer the Neighborhood Council elections for the spring of 2014, the following timelines for elections are in play:
1. Spring 2014 - This option is the current election ordinance and allows for collaboration with the City Clerk. It does cut current Board terms 6 months to get back on cycle of holding elections every other year because the 2012 elections were held 6 months later while the City determined who was responsible to administer the elections. The CAO proposes that if Neighborhood Councils paid for this option, it would be almost a 20% reduction to their yearly allocation next year.
2. Fall 2014 - This option would allow for the Board members elected in 2012 to serve their full 2 year terms. Because they have to prepare for municipal elections, the City Clerk could possibly assist in the spring, but not in the fall. If Neighborhood Councils paid for this option, it would spread out the 20% reduction to their yearly allocation over 2 fiscal years because the Department would need to start election preparations next fiscal year to administer elections by the fall. Thus, a 10% reduction in Neighborhood Council funding may result under the CAO proposal.
3. Spring 2015 - This option would require an extension of Board terms of 6 months (4 year terms will need 1 year extension). Because they have to prepare for municipal elections, the City Clerk could not assist with Neighborhood Council elections. This timing of elections coincides with the City Clerk's administration of municipal elections. There would be no reduction in Neighborhood Council funding to support this option.
Other options for Neighborhood Councils that Board members have suggested to me in the last few days include going to an all selection process, running their own elections without the Department or City Clerk and asking the City to pay for the 2014 elections entirely. I'm also going back through the proposed $692,000 election cost to see where else I can cut.
If you have other suggestions, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
. The budget is in process so it's important to hear your opinion on the matter because it involves Neighborhood Council funding, whether it's as a single Board member or as a Neighborhood Council if your Board meetings within the upcoming weeks and can put this on your agenda. You can let us know your opinion by emailing email@example.com
, and we will get your message to the Mayor's Budget Team, and/or you can join the positions started by other Neighborhood Council coalitions or leaders listed below for your reference.
The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners will also be accepting and providing feedback at their March 18, 2013 meeting.
Please let us know if you have any other questions. We look forward to working collaboratively with Neighborhood Councils in resolving these budget issues.
As always, thank you very much for the time and efforts that you invest to Empower LA!
Department of Neighborhood Empowerment
Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates position passed at their March 11, 2013 meeting:
Whereas the City is asking the neighborhood councils to postpone their elections due to budget issues, and
Whereas the city is asking each neighborhood council to pay for their next elections, approx: $ 7300.00 per council, and
Whereas the city continues to violate Charter section 911 by cutting neighborhood council funds, sweeping annual excess funds, and failing to fund neighborhood councils in a secure account one year in advance,
Therefore, the Neighborhood Council budget advocates move:
That the City issues NO DELAYS in the 2014 neighborhood council elections
That The City fully fund the neighborhood council 2014 elections
That the City impose no further cuts to the neighborhood councils annual budgets
That the city cease and desist from any further sweeping of neighborhood council funds, in violation of charter section 911
That the Budget Advocates file an immediate letter of complaint against the city for its violations of Charter Section 911.