As a deficit-strapped city of Los Angeles ponders cuts of more than 750 workers, not including decreases in overtime for police that have resulted in less officers on the streets, the embattled Department of Water and Power has been growing.

Jack Humphreville writes at LA CityWatch that the number of department employees is up six percent versus 2009, with at least 532 hires since June. The new hires have added $48 million to the payroll, he writes. An extra 1,236 employees hired since summer, 2008 have cost taxpayers $112 million, Humphreville states. Over three years the department has absorbed some of those new hires — 1,480 — from other city departments, he states.

The average DWP salary, by the way, is about $91,000 a year. Water and Power's new people have also added about $572 million to the DWP employees' retirement plan, which is underfunded by at least $3 billion today, Humphreville writes.

“What really needs to be investigated is why the politically appointed DWP management and Board of Commissioners have authorized the hiring so many unqualified carpetbaggers,” he writes, “especially when the volume of water and power is decreasing.”

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