Local Trustees Have No Exclusive on Ineptitude

Waste throws wrench into Los Angeles community colleges’ massive project
Poor planning, frivolous spending and shoddy work dog the sprawling system’s bond-financed construction program.

“The board relies heavily on guidance from contractors that stand to profit from its spending decisions. A management consultant urged the trustees last year to hire an independent construction advisor to identify the public’s best interests; they rebuffed the idea.”

“Officials changed plans, discarded designs and killed projects in midstream in part because they could. There was more than enough money to paper over mistakes.”

“In one respect, trouble was inevitable: Voters had put (bond funds) under the control of seven of the region’s most obscure elected officials. They would be spending it with almost no public scrutiny — despite their promise of “strict oversight” by a citizens committee.”

“Through his lawyer, Rocha said he did not approve any project unilaterally and rejected what he said were efforts to blame him for overspending.” “With a plug from the district, Rocha’s wife, Nancy Rosenberg, 45, was hired as a construction manager by Jacobs Facilities Inc., a contractor at East L.A. College.”

“I think it’s obscene, given what’s going on in this economy,” said Pete Parkin, former chairman of the theater department. “It’s mind-boggling.”

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