Laura Chick today endorsed attorney Ron Galperin for city controller, a job she held from 2001 to 2009.
Galperin also earned the endorsement from Chick's predecessor, Rick Tuttle, who served as city controller from 1985 to 2001.
The current city controller, Wendy Greuel, decided not to seek another term and instead run for mayor in the March 5 municipal primary election.
Galperin is running against three-term City Councilman Dennis Zine and businessman and civic activist Cary Brazeman. Three other candidates, Jeff Bornstein, Analilia Joya, and Ankur Patel qualified for the ballot but have not raised any money for the campaign.
Chick said Galperin, an attorney who headed two separate commissions focused on finding ways to save the city money and operate more efficiently, has "innovative ideas for finding efficiencies to save taxpayer dollars and make Los Angeles more transparent and accountable."
"Too often Los Angeles' leaders have relied on poll-tested, sound-bite solutions rather than rolling up their sleeves and making the tough decisions to implement long-term solutions to improve the city's operations," Chick said. "Ron Galperin has the courage, energy and drive to take the City Controller's Office to that next level."
Galperin thanked Chick for the endorsement, calling her a "paragon for transparency, accountability and efficiency."
"I will work to serve the people of Los Angeles with the same dedication Laura has throughout her career,' he said.
Zine campaign manager Rick Taylor, who was Chick's campaign manager in her race for city controller, said a lot has changed since Chick moved to Northern California in 2009 to watchdog the state's stimulus spending.
Taylor pointed to endorsements Zine received from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a majority of sitting City Council members, as well as powerful public and private sector labor unions.
"Laura certainly has a right to say what she wants, but she has no direct investment in the city of Los Angeles to make that call," Taylor said. "Dennis (Zine) represents an activist kind of controller. That's what the people of the city are looking for right now."
Zine has had a campaign spending advantage over Galperin, according to campaign finance data from the fundraising period ended Dec. 31. Zine raised more than twice Galperin's haul -- $727,500 to Galperin'ss $304,300.