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Owe the City of L.A. Money? There's a Czar for That!

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There's a new position opening up at City Hall for someone who doesn't mind getting tough about bills getting paid. It's what's being called the "Collections Czar," and the role was approved by a 9-1 vote this morning during today's regular City Council Meeting.

The motion to create the position was introduced by Council President Eric Garcetti in late 2009. The job, technically called the Executive Director for Revenue Efficiency, will be a temporary 12-month contracted position, and is expected to be filled by someone who currently works for the city.

Though all but one of the ten councilmembers present today voted to approve the creation of the "czar" of collections, Councilman Paul Koretz cautioned City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana that the person taking the post would need to step up, and perhaps step in it: "The fact is whoever we pick, it has to be someone who is willing to be gutsy and willing to make a few enemies in city hall. They're going to have to call people on their lack of action."

Councilman Dennis Zine was the sole "no" voter today; he cites the creation of unnecessary additional government and a likely waste of money.

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Recent audits and reports presented by City Controller Wendy Greuel indicate that the City of Los Angeles is owed hundreds of millions of dollars, which does not include unpaid taxes. Further, not all departments impose late fees on overdue payments. In July 2010, Greuel found that the City of Los Angeles only collected 53% of payments on bills owed.