City of Los Angeles Fire Department Independent Assessor, Proposition A (March 2009)

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A Los Angeles Fire Department Independent Assessor, Proposition A ballot question was on the March 3, 2009 ballot in the City of Los Angeles, California, where it was approved.[1]

Proposition A required that the position of Fire Department Independent Assessor be established. The assessor is responsible for auditing and reviewing the activities of the Fire Department, including complaints of misconduct. The Assessor is a civilian employee reporting directly to the Fire Commission, which has the authority to appoint and remove the Assessor.

Prior to the adoption of Proposition A, the Los Angeles City Fire Commission did not have an independent assessor whose job it would be to review the activities of the Fire Department, including complaints against firefighters and civilian employees.

Proposition A was expected to result in an additional cost to Los Angeles of about $500,000 per year for the Assessor and administrative support.

Election results

Proposition A
Approveda Yes 132,037 53.2%
These final election results are from the Los Angeles County election office.


Supporters of Measure A, including Mayor Villaraigoa, said:

  • In recent years, juries have awarded multi-million dollar verdicts to plaintiffs in lawsuits against the Fire Department.
  • Audits and recommendations following those lawsuits say that professionalization and ways of enforcing high standards are needed.
  • A similar position in the Police Department has helped ensure high professional standards of conduct.
  • People close to the situation support this idea, including the Fire Chief, Fire Commission, firefighters and elected City leaders.

The Los Angeles Times endorsed a "yes" vote on Measure A, saying, "The job should not be necessary...but interviews with firefighters, commission members and others in the City Hall personnel system have convinced us that both the position and the charter amendment are prudent steps."[2]


Those who signed the ballot argument against Measure A included Walter Moore and David Berger. They argued:

  • It will add an expensive layer of bureacracy with no added benefit.
  • Taxpayers pay $2.8 million/year for a similar position in the Police Department, but the city continues to get sued, and it continues to lose those lawsuits, for professional misconduct in the Police Department.
  • This suggests that having this type of oversight will not result in reduced litigation.

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:

Proposition A: "Shall the Charter be amended to empower the Board of Fire Commissioners to appoint and remove an Independent Assessor, exempt from Civil Service, who shall be responsible for auditing, assessing and reviewing the Fire Department's handling of complaints against sworn and civilian employees?"[3]

See also

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