LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called today for an investigation of the Department of Transportation and ordered the immediate end of its controversial “Gold Card Desk,” which has helped some residents dispose of parking tickets.
Villaraigosa called for the probe in a letter sent to DOT Interim General Manager Amir Sedadi.
“Various issues over the past few weeks point to glaring weaknesses at LADOT,” the mayor wrote.
”We are well beyond the point of isolated incidents or a coincidence of events.”
The letter follows a series of audits of LADOT by City Controller Wendy Greuel. An audit released Thursday uncovered the existence of a “Gold Card Desk” for city officials to call on behalf of constituents to expedite the review of parking violations.
Councilmembers and the mayor’s office played down the controversial nature of the desk, saying it was poorly named and was used to help constituents with special needs, not to bestow special favors.
The mayor’s office released data Thursday showing that city council and mayoral staffers are the minority of users of the service. About 90 percent of gold card calls came from LADOT over the last five years.
“I am directing you to discontinue the Gold Card Desk immediately and to establish a uniform system accessible to everyone for contested parking citation intake and adjudication,” Villaraigosa wrote.
The mayor said he ordered the city controller to hire an independent management consultant to do a “top-to-bottom management review” of the department, which is charged with issuing parking violations.
The review will touch on management policies and procedures, internal communications and protocol, record keeping and information systems, and contract and project management.