Friday, November 24, 2006

DONE's PR Problem

Lisa Sarno is the interim General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) who oversees the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council (SONC) and all the other neighborhood councils.

Being involved with neighborhood councils (NCs) since the first week I moved into city limits of Los Angeles, I had never heard of her until an e-mail came asking my public opposition of an extension of her interim appointment at an Oct. 9th Education and Neighborhoods Committee from Doug Epperhart of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council:
Many of us have seen Ms. Sarno in action. We've observed her attitude toward neighborhood councils and the way she runs the department. I believe she is neither a good manager of people nor effective communicator and advocate for the NC system. On balance, her continued presence does more harm than good.

As president of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council -- which has voted to seek Ms. Sarno's removal from her present position -- I'm asking that you attend the meeting if you can and join me in opposing any extension of her tenure.
To be fair, in my passive understanding of the upper levels of DONE, I had never heard the name of the former DONE GM, Greg Nelson, until I received an e-mail from him saying that Prop R has "something it it tha can repulse everyone." He wrote the e-mail after his tenure.

The second time I heard Ms. Sarno's name was when I met her at a Neighborhood Council Member training session at City Hall. She seemed pleasent and nice, but I definately had no chance to speak to her other than say hi and shake hands.

This week, she is under attack for a report she delivered "about violence at neighborhood councils [that have] sparked an outcry among some community activists, who say it smears the local boards and inflates claims of bad behavior."

SONC President, Jill Banks Barad told Daily News "we've talked about some actions that we felt were unethical, but I have not heard of physical incidents. If this is supposed to be a big problem, I think DONE should come to us and tell us that."

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