Vote To Explore Adding More Oversight To Expo Line Authority Delayed
Board member and county supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas sought passage of a motion at Thursday's meeting that would have directed Expo Authority staff members to meet with L.A. County counsel to find a way to increase oversight of the authority and its contractors.
L.A. City councilman Herb Wesson, the board's chairman, tabled the motion until a Sept. 20 special meeting. He said his absent colleagues, L.A. councilmembers Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, had requested to be part of the discussion.
Ridley-Thomas expressed frustration with the amount of change orders that have come to the board for approval during the first phase of construction, including about 15 this year.
“It's the stuff of which an inspector general's office is made to track,” he said. “It's a matter of being responsible.”
The price of the first segment has soared from $650 million to nearly $900 million. Construction of the second segment, from Culver City to Santa Monica, will likely begin at the end of the year. The cost for that portion is $1.5 billion.
Other board members, including Scott Malsin of Culver City and Pam O'Connor of Santa Monica, requested that authority staff be prepared to provide at the next meeting estimated costs for hiring an inspector general and information about whether or not similar agencies in the nation have inspectors general.
“All of these questions are very interesting, but I don't want it to be inferred that we are doing anything with this motion besides continuing it,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, a board member and county supervisor.
Ridley-Thomas said he believes there's enough support on the board to approve creating an in-house watchdog.
“The status quo must change,” he said.
Though Metro's Chief Ethics Officer Karen Gorman currently handles oversight of the Authority, she has yet to publicly report anything significant regarding its activities.
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