“Big Lies”

The Los Angeles Daily News discusses the city’s recent polygraph contract in this editorial. Excerpt:

City Hall’s budget woes get worse every day. This year’s projected deficit has nearly doubled in just a week.

Maybe that’s because City Hall pays twice the going rate for its services and contracts.

Take lie-detectors — and frankly it would be a good idea if our city leaders were given lie-detector tests with regularity.

Last week, the City Council approved a $615,000 contract with an East Coast security company to provide polygraph examinations for would-be Los Angeles Police Department officers. What the council didn’t ask about — and the bureaucrats didn’t mention — is that the company doesn’t have any polygraph experts.

Nor did anyone question why the city was paying $395 for each test when the firm was going out and hiring local polygraph experts to conduct the tests for the standard $200 fee.

In other words, the city will pay almost double the going rate for lie-detector tests. The deal, of course, was part of a no-bid contract with $62,000 thrown in so the firm’s executives can travel to Los Angeles to make sure the local experts are doing a good job.

Phyllis Lynes, assistant general manager for the city Personnel Department’s Public Safety Bureau, read about the company, U.S. Investigation Services Inc., in a brochure, and that seemed to be the extent of her research. City bureaucrats claim they made a few random phone calls and surfed the Web looking for competitors, but they didn’t seem to look very hard.

City Controller Laura Chick should take this latest example of waste as proof of the need for her tireless vigilance in defense of the taxpayers’ money. If she doesn’t do it, no one will.

When they’re campaigning, city politicians always make promises about managing the public’s funds responsibly. When they take the oath of office, they pledge to serve and protect the public and its concerns.

Maybe it’s the city’s politicians, not its police officers, who need lie-detector tests. Even at City Hall’s inflated rate of $395 a pop, it would be worth the money if it brought a little truth to City Hall.

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