More than one in five workers at the L.A. Department of Water and Power makes a six-figure salary, according to a peek inside the agency by the county's civil Grand Jury.

More than 21 percent of the 9,177 workers make $100,000 and up, according to the Grand Jury, with the biggest chunk of employees (36 percent) making $60,000 to $80,000 a year and a precious few (a half-dozen, total) making more than $240,000.

And, despite the sad economy …

… the DWP has actually grown by nearly 20 percent in the last five years, according to the report (PDF).

But those aren't the main issues the Grand Jury has with the DWP. Rather, the body is unhappy with the amount of political control asserted over the department by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and, through political contributions to City Hall, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers that represents nearly 9 out of 10 DWP workers.

The mayor appoints commissioners that run the DWP, and there has been high turnover (not good). Additionally, the Grand Jury states, “it is interesting to note, as shown in the following exhibit, that 97 percent of all Commissioner appointees since 2000, also made political contributions.”

The Grand Jury also argues that last year's quagmire over rate hikes — the department had threatened to withhold its scheduled transfer of $73 million to the city's general fund until it got a rate hike, which it received — was, well, a b.s. move:

Saying they did not have the cash was inappropriate and set off a series of events and negative public and Council perceptions that will take many years to correct … Holding the City “hostage” under these circumstances was inappropriate since the Department had the cash to make the transfer, although they had it reserved for other uses.

What do they want for the DWP? More transparent bills for customers, a citizen-appointed ratepayer advocate, and “a stronger, independent commission system” that would “reduce the politics of appointment, real or perceived.”

When do they want it? Now.

Good luck.


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