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Audit Reveals LAPD HQ Construction Mismanaged & Over Budget (Anyone Surprised?)

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City Controller Laura Chick announced yesterday the results of an audit ordered on the construction of the 10-story police headquarters downtown, revealing that the costs on the project "have soared $150 million over projections" bringing the receipt to over $453 million, according to the Daily News.

Chick explained that the "city's Bureau of Engineering has failed to provide adequate oversight and management" and when the city's engineers "lost control of the project" the LAPD had to intervene and deal directly with the design firm.

In what appears to be a classic--and costly--case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, Chick summed up the situation: "What went wrong was too many hands and departments in this and not enough management from the Bureau of Engineering."

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Furthermore, Chick reasoned that while the chief contractor was not at fault for the escalated costs, the blame rests with the city, who began the project with waffling on the location for the building, then skirting "scrutiny or political backlash" by using municipal lease-revenue bonds, and furthering the expenses and mismanagement by not hiring all the personnel in a timely manner and lacking oversight.

The Board of Public Works, which oversees the bureau in question, had no comment on the issue, but will review the report and implement Chick's recommendations.

Chick appears to be audit-happy, noting that many of the city's constructions projects should undergo the process, and names the Emergency Communications Center and the Animal Service shelters as next on her list.

The LAPD's news digs at First and Spring are due to open next year, replacing the ailing Parker Center.

Photo of the construction site taken in January 2007 by ericrichardson via Flickr