YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Los Angeles

Hahn Names City Contracting Panelists

March 19, 2004|Jessica Garrison | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn has named a panel of business, labor and legal experts to study city contracting.

The mayor decided to create the commission last month, after county prosecutors began a criminal investigation into city contracting and political fundraising.

"The panel's work on this project will ensure that city departments will better serve the people of Los Angeles," Hahn said Wednesday in a statement.

USC law and ethics professor Erwin Chemerinsky will head the panel. He said he hoped the group could hold its first meeting this month and that its work would be done by July 1.

Chemerinsky, who will soon be leaving Los Angeles to become a law professor at Duke University School of Law in Durham, N.C., said the panel would concern itself with how to improve city contracting, not whether there had been wrongdoing.

"We are not a grand jury. We are not here to deal with ethics issues," Chemerinsky said. "Our task is to look at how contracting is done and ... how can we do it better."

The panelists appointed Wednesday are:

Gene Hale, head of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce; Kelly Martin, who was chief of staff to former Mayor Richard Riordan; Jerome Selmer, retired assistant chief administrative officer; Julie Butcher, general manager of the city's largest union; Msgr. Terry Fleming, former member of the city Ethics Commission; Roberto Barragan, executive director of the Valley Economic Development Corp.; and Charlie Woo, chief executive of Megatoys.

Woo said he hoped his "business perspective and experience will contribute to significant reforms."

"Reform is always needed," he said.

In late February, the mayor also called for a broad package of ethics reforms that would ban political giving by city contractors, developers and lobbyists, further restrict fundraising on behalf of local political campaigns and prohibit campaign consultants from lobbying officials for whom they have done political work.

Those proposals have received a lukewarm reception from other city officials.

Also last month, the City Council enacted a ban on the raising of campaign funds by city commissioners for local elected officials.

Los Angeles Times Articles