Empower LA will eventually spend upwards of $2 million on 2016 Neighborhood Council (NC)elections. Online voting was introduced as a way to encourage increased resident participation, in addition to dropping the voting age to 13. With 96 NC’s, Empower LA is spending $1 million dollars for 35 NC’s to utilize an online voting system, costing taxpayers roughly $3,000 per vote. The remaining 61 will use traditional polling locations.
Controversy surrounded the Studio City Neighborhood Council (SCNC), as insiders allege Jay Handle and Stephen Box, the Empower LA Webmaster, posted candidates personal information online, consisting of social security numbers and driver’s license information, for weeks, before being discovered.
Empower LA staff was horrified to find candidates confidential information listed on the SCNC website , after a public records request was initiated.
This breach of confidentially is costing taxpayers additional funds, to provide credit monitoring services to those affected.
Empower LA employees confirmed the confidentiality breach but were unable to delineate how many individuals were affected or what total cost will be to taxpayers.
Calls to the Studio City NC have gone unanswered.
Empower LA staff wonder why more money isn’t being spent to ensure neighborhood councils have ongoing support, yet are spending millions of dollars to hold elections and hire seasonal election staff.
Select employees are offered overtime, while others are forced to adjust schedules to accommodate elections.
Empower LA insiders tell 2 Urban Girls that management is aware of the kerfuffles, but were hoping the media wouldn’t catch wind of it.
Stephen Box pulls triple duty as: webmaster, director of communications for elections and handing out election jobs and overtime. Perhaps it’s time for a separation of powers. Immediately.