During this unprecedented pandemic, the 50,000 public employees of the City of Los Angeles have responded heroically. Our first responders, of course, have taken on the immense challenge of keeping Los Angeles safe during a fast-moving and wide-ranging crisis. Many City employees have been designated as disaster service workers and are serving in roles well outside their normal positions. And at the same time, the basic functions of city government still need to be met, and our employees are showing up and getting the job done for all of us under very difficult circumstances.
This pandemic has made clear that in times of emergency, city government cannot allow bureaucratic business-as-usual to get in the way of getting things done. To that end, Councilmember Krekorian has introduced two motions to ensure swift and efficient procurement of desperately-needed goods and services during times of declared national, state, or local emergencies. Together, the motions would provide a process for emergency approval of contracts that safeguard life, health, safety, and property, or that continue city services, or that are mandated by state of federal law.
The motions would enable the City Council and Mayor to authorize the general managers of departments and bureaus to approve emergency extensions for contracts that are expiring soon to prevent any disruption in service, and further would allow Council to temporarily suspend onerous restrictions that make it difficult to procure services. The City Council and Mayor would also be able to delegate to departmental general managers the contract approval authority of boards and commissions when they are otherwise unable to meet.
When citizens are desperate for help in an emergency, the City needs to act nimbly, quickly and effectively. We cannot afford to lose precious time to a cumbersome procurement and contracting process.