Jan 29: A stimulus project roadsign is posted on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, Calif.AFP
Aug. 13: Several thousand people protest demanding jobs outside City Hall in Los Angeles.AFP
More than a year after Congress approved $800 billion in stimulus funds, the Los Angeles city controller has released a 40-page report on how the city spent its share, and the results are not living up to expectations.
"I'm disappointed that we've only created or retained 55 jobs after receiving $111 million," said Wendy Greuel, the city's controller. "With our local unemployment rate over 12 percent we need to do a better job cutting red tape and putting Angelenos back to work."
According to the audit, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works spent $70 million in stimulus funds -- in return, it created seven private sector jobs and saved seven workers from layoffs. Taxpayer cost per job: $1.5 million.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation created even fewer jobs per dollar, spending $40 million but netting just nine jobs. Taxpayer cost per job: $4.4 million.
Greuel blamed the dismal numbers on several factors:
1. Bureaucratic red tape: Four highway projects did not even go out to bid until seven months after they were authorized.
2. Projects that were supposed to be competitively bid in the private sector went instead to city workers.
3. Stimulus money was not properly tracked within departments
4. Both departments could not report the jobs created and retained in a timely fashion..
"I would say maybe in a grade, a B- in creating the jobs," Greuel told Fox News. "They have started to spend those dollars but it took seven months to get some of those contracts out. We think in the city that we should move quickly and not in the same usual bureaucratic ways."