“The department views the re-assignment of senior engineering managers as essential to professional development. It also positions these individuals to have a broader range of management, leadership, and technical background so that they have the experience necessary to lead a multi-faceted organization like LADOT in the future. This management approach has been explained directly to the senior engineers, is consistent with the 2011-2012 management review of the department conducted by the Controller, and has been explained directly to the union leadership.
Recently, three engineering managers were re-assigned. Dan Mitchell, formerly head of the Parking Meter Division, was promoted to Executive Officer for Project Delivery through a competitive process. Ken Husting, who is one of the department’s most capable engineers, was re-assigned to head the Parking Meter Division. That division is one of our most important functions from both a customer service and revenue perspective. An acting manager was appointed to replace Ken and lead the Highways Division. The former Executive Officer now heads our District Operations, which are core services to the public.
The department also announced that additional re-assignments would be forthcoming. Final decisions on potential re-assignments have not been finalized and no other senior engineers other than those noted above have been re-assigned. These points were explained to all senior engineers in writing.
The department continues to fine tune the organization based on the resources available and the priorities set by the Mayor and City Council.
Given budgetary constraints and attrition, not every position – senior engineer or otherwise – is filled at all times. This has been explained directly to the union leadership. Management has asked the union to work together to secure the necessary administrative approvals to fill various engineering positions. In addition, the department has taken administrative steps required under the managed hiring process and civil service to make this possible.
Finally, the department has established a bench of engineering consulting and other professional services firms and contracts have been signed. To date, no transportation engineering work has been assigned to bench firms. A professional bench is a wise move and not unprecedented. Both the Bureau of Engineering and Department of City Planning have similar benches. The purpose of the bench is twofold. The first is to have specialized skills that do not exist in the department available on an as-needed basis (e.g. traffic modeling and simulation). The second is to provide the ability to complete work in the event the department has insufficient internal staff resources. The department’s preference is to complete engineering work in-house and we have used overtime to meet workload demands to date. All of these points have been discussed with union leadership on multiple occasions.”