LA Times: New ideas by L.A. County leaders are welcome — but are they right?

Los Angeles County government is in the midst of an intriguing organizational shake-up. In one move announced Thursday, the office of the chief executive was reconfigured to make it easier to implement reforms in child welfare and the Sheriff’s Department. That’s encouraging, at least in concept. Failures in those two areas over a number of years have resulted in needless injury to people under county supervision, and although the causes include mistakes and misfeasance by county personnel, they also include poor management and oversight and a frustrating inability to swiftly move expertise and resources across departmental lines to solve problems. These administrative changes could help ensure that the substantive reforms actually work.

And on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will consider a plan to consolidate three departments — Health Services, Public Health and Mental Health — into a single agency. In theory, such a move could create a more nimble county government that’s better able to, for example, provide care and housing for mentally ill homeless people without worrying about which department has jurisdiction.

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