A new report from the Los Angeles County Grand Jury has found that many charter cities face major problems, including lacking strategic planning, spotty financial controls and have few methods of measuring whether they are reaching goals.
This report serves as an important tool in the effort to keep cities from converting from general law to charters. ABC and other anti-worker groups frequently urge cities to seek charter status in order to exempt themselves from state prevailing wage laws. But to the contrary, the lack of control and accountability lead to higher costs and other problems, the report found.
A news report summarizing the findings noted that three of the four California cities that have taken steps toward bankruptcy recently - San Bernardino, Compton and Stockton - have charters. Scandals in the charter cities of Temple City, Bell and Vernon led to criminal convictions of city officials. The Grand Jury found that of the 22 small-to-medium-size cities analyzed, only five had balanced budgets in the 2009-10 fiscal year. Others had dangerously low asset-to-debt ratios.
Download the complete report here.