Friday, November 05, 2010
CityWatchLA - Hire Local or Shop for an Import?
CityWatch, Nov 5, 2010
Vol 8 Issue 88
LA's Department of Transportation has been on auto-pilot since Rita Robinson resigned as General Manager, leaving in her wake two Assistant Managers who are both contenders for the open GM position.
City Hall is faced with three options as it prepares to deal with LADOT; hire from within and avoid the time and expense of a national search while pursuing familiarity, hire from the outside and go after a transportation "Rock Star" with a demonstrated track record for innovation, or seize the opportunity to pursue efficiency and fold the LADOT into other city departments.
The murmuring from City Hall reveals a bias in favor of the "inside job" approach to the GM search, focusing on the two LADOT Assistant Managers, one in charge of Operations and the other in charge of Parking.
John Fisher of Transportation Operations is a nationally recognized transportation engineer who began his career with the City of LA six years before the creation of LA's Department of Transportation. He is known as "the historian" and authored “Transportation Topics and Tales: Milestones in Transportation History in Southern California." (pdf link)
Amir Sedadi of Parking Management is a veteran of both Los Angeles and Pasadena parking operations and is the heir apparent, having spent significant time at Robinson's side as she visited the Transportation Commission, the Transportation Committee, and the City Council.
Both Fisher and Sedadi are veterans of LADOT controversy, leading some to favor a national search that would target people such as Janette Sadik-Khan of New York, Tim Papandreou of San Francisco, and Gil Peñalosa, of Bogotá, Colombia.
As the LADOT hot-seat sits empty, one thing is certain; the decision over whether to go with the sure thing, gamble on a long-shot, or simply fold 'em must be made with the input and participation of the community or the road rage will move from the streets of LA to City Hall. Again!