Most people likely aren’t contemplating elections beyond this year, but Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz announced Thursday he will run for city controller in March 2022.
Koretz said his track record of managing public funds and his efforts to enact government oversight policies make him a qualified candidate.
“I have always been passionate about government efficiency, so we can avoid waste and use city funds exclusively to improve the service city government provides for our residents,” Koretz said. “That’s why I am running for city controller.”
The councilman has served on the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee since being elected in 2009. As a councilman, Koretz said he “spent a lot of time and effort looking for efficiencies that can save the city money, and I have found a number of them over the years.”
Koretz also once chaired the council’s Audits and Government Efficiency Committee, which has since been dissolved.
“I’m asking that (City Council President-elect) Nury Martinez, when she becomes council president, to either recreate that committee or put those functions into a committee, because I think there needs to be more of a focus on implementing the controller’s audits, which does not always happen,” Koretz told City News Service.
Koretz said a major part of his platform is getting recommendations from controller audits implemented by the council.
“Right now we have policy committees for looking at audits, and … I don’t think the policy committees are doing as much as they could,” Koretz told CNS. “You are reliant on the council for implementation, but (being elected) would put me in a good position because … I have a good relationship with every member of the current City Council.”
In the 1980s, Koretz helped found the city of West Hollywood, where he served as mayor and a city councilman. He said during his time there, he helped create a robust annual reserve fund for the city. Koretz was also a member of the state Assembly in the 42nd district from 2000 to 2006.
Under Los Angeles city rules, Koretz will be able to establish a campaign committee and begin official campaign activities in March of this year.
According to Koretz, 90 current and former elected officials have already endorsed him for the office, although no other candidate appears to have entered the race this early.
The endorsements include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, former Los Angeles City Controller Rick Tuttle, State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Los Angeles City Council members Curren Price, Bob Blumenfield, Jose Huizar, Monica Rodriguez and Martinez. He said he also has endorsements from unions including United Firefighters of Los Angeles and community leaders.
“During the 10 years we have served on the City Council together, I have found Paul Koretz to be of the highest integrity and trustworthiness,” Wesson said. “He has been consistently focused on ways to save the city money through efficiencies. He has been one of the key members of our Budget (and Finance) Committee and has helped guide us through tough fiscal times. Paul is the perfect choice for our next City Controller.”
Current City Controller Ron Galperin will be termed out by the next election.
The city controller is the “elected paymaster, auditor and chief accounting officer” for Los Angeles, according to the office’s website. Along with the mayor and city attorney, the controller is elected every four years.
In 2000, a City Charter update granted the controller the power to conduct performance audits on the effectiveness of city departments.