Where Can You Make $84,250 a Year Trimming Trees? At The L.A. DWP | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Where Can You Make $84,250 a Year Trimming Trees? At The L.A. DWP

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Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 3:31 PM

click to enlarge OMAR BARCENA / FLICKR
See also: Big Labor Can't Elect a Mayor in L.A.

If you wonder why L.A.'s labor leaders tried so hard (and failed) to elect Wendy Greuel as mayor, this might explain it:

L.A. city controller Ron Galperin today released new data on employee pay for the city's Department of Water and Power, revealing that in the first half of 2013, DWP workers, mostly represented by Brian D'Arcy's International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IEBW) union, took home an extra $77.3 million on top of their official salaries. Wow. And just think:

The IEBW tried to swing the mayoral election, won by Eric Garcetti, with a comparatively small amount: $4 million to support Greuel's candidacy.

That would have been a wise investment had Greuel won.

But now the DWP will have to face the music. Not that City Hall's left-leaning leadership is hostile to labor. But the money being overspent here is breathtaking, and voters aren't happy about it.

The controller's office says that nearly 9 out of 10 DWP workers (86 percent) received pay above their base salaries so far this year.

If the extra pay, including overtime, continues at this rate it will amount to $155 million in 2013, according to the controller's report. That could pay for a lot of extra cops on the streets.

At this rate nearly 60 percent of the department's workers will make more than $100,000 this year, Galperin says.

And the DWP doles out silly money for jobs that already pay well: Consider that starting pay for city custodians is usually $32,239 to $40,048. At the DWP, it's as much as $54,497 -- to take out the trash!

City tree trimmers usually start out at $49,548 to $61,554 a year. At the DWP? As much as $84,250!

Galperin started a web page that will now track DWP salaries quarterly. And you know what that means? Pressure to stop this madness, regardless of a union's clout at City Hall.

Galperin:

Angelenos deserve the most cost-effective services that the DWP can provide. Higher expenses mean higher rates and less money for much-needed infrastructure improvements.

That's a nice way of putting it.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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