Council Wants Mayor to Have Less Control over L.A. Pension Boards

June 1, 2009 ( - Two members of the Los Angeles City Council have called for a reduction in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's power to pick pension board members.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Councilmen Dennis Zine and Bernard C. Parks said no single politician should be able to control a board majority at both the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions. Villaraigosa nominates five of nine members on the Fire and Police Pensions board, and four of seven members on the city employees’ retirement board.

Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo said the council already confirms each of the mayor’s pension nominees, and also the mayor is developing new criteria for selecting pension board members.

Meanwhile, the Police Protective League, the union that represents Los Angeles police officers, said the Fire and Police Pensions board should not do business with any company that gave a campaign contribution to any city politician during the previous two-year period.

The proposals follow the resignations of three of Villaraigosa’s pension appointees in a single month: Kelly Candaele stepped down from the city employees’ board after he co-hosted a fundraiser for city attorney candidate Jack Weiss in violation of city ethics law; and Sean Harrigan and Elliott Broidy left the Fire and Police Pensions board after receiving a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission that asked about their communications with three firms under scrutiny in the investigation of alleged kickbacks in New York (see SEC Pension Probe Extended to L.A. Fund ). Both said they had committed no wrongdoing but had become distractions to the board, according to the news report.