Whether your are a fan of the Mayor Villaraigosa - or not - even his harshest critics have to admit he has done a largely excellent job in his choice of department heads. Gail Goldberg as the Planning Director, Carol Baker Tharp & Bonghwan Kim as heads of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment - DONE - and Pouria Abbassi as head of the Los Angeles Convention Center are just some of his stellar choices, and each of them was enthusiastically endorsed by all the neighborhood council members on the interview panels.
But, for some reason - as far as I know - no neighborhood council members were involved in the interview process for the new head of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation - LADOT- or at least none who were among those of us who have been involved in the process before.
And then when I met Gloria Jeff for the first time I was... stunned.
I do not know if I have ever met a more arrogant, self-centered person in my life. She made it clear from the moment she entered the room she had no interest in anyone other than herself - and less interest in what anyone else thought or had to say.
And if anyone from the leadership of NC movement had been on the panel who had interviewed her - a lot of questions would have been asked - and the horrendous mistake of hiring Gloria Jeff would have never happened.
I say that because it only took me twenty-four hours of phone calls to Michigan and other places she had worked to get the real story of Gloria Jeff's career.
Gloria Jeff has a history of being asked to 'resign' and a history of being allowed to find another job before she would announce her 'resignation'.
Again, in just 24 hours, I was able to uncover horror story after horror story of incompetence, mismanagement, contempt for the public she was supposed to serve, unimaginable mistreatment of her staff and insubordination to the people who had hired her. But - somehow - the Mayor's staff missed all of this.
I then alerted local reporters to her past history (from sources I agreed to keep confidential - but who were plenty easy for me to find in... again... just 24 hours) - the very week she was hired and before she had been confirmed - and I also did so on many occasions after that - but no one was ever interested in following up on this story.
And even after almost everyone who worked at LADOT, other city department heads, some members of the Mayor's staff realized - within weeks after she had been on the job - what a disaster she was as a manager - almost none of this was reported in the press.
Plus not a word was ever printed about her past; not a word was ever said about the long, drawn out process when the Governor of Michigan - the woman who had hired her - tried to get her to resign for months and months and months... until she finally found someone amazingly stupid enough - and that's us, folks - to take Gloria Jeff off of her hands.
And now, unless the press - finally - gets off its collective ass - and gets people to go on the record about why Gloria Jeff actually was fired here - and why she really 'resigned' from her past positions - we're going to end up on the hook for another multi-million dollar payout to another dead beat con artist.