Times investigation: Controversy at the L.A. Department of Water & Power

<b>Times investigation: </b>Controversy at the L.A. Department of Water & Power

Times investigation: Controversy at the L.A. Department of Water & Power
When the union representing most Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees became the biggest spender in the 2013 mayoral race, The Times took a look at pay and benefits at the city-owned utility. Among the findings: The average DWP employee made more than $100,000 in 2012 and could take an unlimited number of paid sick days. On Jan. 9, Ron Nichols announced his resignation as the DWP's general manager after he was unable to produce records showing how two nonprofit trusts created to help improve relations with the utility's largest union have spent more than $40 million in ratepayer money over the last decade.
Department of Water and Power workmen use a backhoe to dig through the pavement to isolate a 12–inch water main that ruptured on Fairfax Avenue. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

DWP chief Ron Nichols resigns amid controversies

10:25 AM PST, January 9, 2014

DWP chief Ron Nichols resigns amid controversies

Ron Nichols announced his resignation Thursday as general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which is struggling through a pair of public-relations debacles.

L.A. city controller issuing subpoenas as standoff over DWP heats up

7:09 PM PST, January 8, 2014

L.A. city controller issuing subpoenas as standoff over DWP heats up

More than $40 million spent over the last decade to improve labor relations at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has, instead, sparked an increasingly tense standoff between a union boss and the city's most powerful elected officials.

DWP union chief snubs auditors tracking $40 million in spending

2:39 PM PST, January 8, 2014

DWP union chief snubs auditors tracking $40 million in spending

Brian D’Arcy, leader of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s largest union, failed to appear at a meeting Wednesday morning to begin explaining how more than $40 million in ratepayer money was spent by two nonprofits he co-manages.

DWP union chief refuses to hand over financial records to auditor

7:06 PM PST, December 17, 2013

DWP union chief refuses to hand over financial records to auditor

The politically powerful head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's largest union has refused to cooperate with an audit of two nonprofit trusts established to improve relations between management and labor at the city-owned utility.

L.A.'s DWP stops issuing shut-off notices amid billing problem

8:04 PM PST, November 27, 2013

L.A.'s DWP stops issuing shut-off notices amid billing problem

The head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Wednesday that his agency has stopped issuing shut-off notices as it tackles problems associated with as many as 70,000 late or inaccurate customer bills.

L.A. DWP officials vote to cut off funding for two nonprofits

6:40 PM PST, November 19, 2013

L.A. DWP officials vote to cut off funding for two nonprofits

Frustrated by their struggle to learn how two Los Angeles Department of Water and Power nonprofit institutes spent more than $40 million of ratepayers' money, commissioners of the publicly owned utility voted Tuesday to cut off funding to the organizations and asked the city controller to perform a sweeping audit of the accounts.

DWP manager retiring amid audit of 2 controversial nonprofits

7:58 PM PST, November 7, 2013

DWP manager retiring amid audit of 2 controversial nonprofits

A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power manager who played a role in two controversial department nonprofits is retiring amid an audit of how the organizations spent more than $40 million since 2000.

Commissioners allowing DWP nonprofits to audit themselves

7:44 PM PDT, October 16, 2013

Commissioners allowing DWP nonprofits to audit themselves

Two weeks after demanding details on how two nonprofits run by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and its biggest union spent more than $40 million, the agency's commissioners changed tack Wednesday and agreed to let the groups audit themselves.

Panel gives DWP 2 weeks to account for nonprofits' spending

11:00 PM PDT, October 1, 2013

Panel gives DWP 2 weeks to account for nonprofits' spending

Newly appointed commissioners of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have given officials two weeks to account for millions of ratepayer dollars spent by a pair of nonprofit trusts created to improve relations between the city-owned utility and its largest employee union.

Pressure grows on L.A. DWP to account for funding of two nonprofits

9:48 PM PDT, September 24, 2013

Pressure grows on L.A. DWP to account for funding of two nonprofits

Los Angeles elected officials ramped up pressure Tuesday on the city-owned Department of Water and Power to account for more than $40 million in ratepayer money paid to two nonprofits created to improve relations between agency managers and the largest employees' union.

L.A. city controller says he plans to audit DWP nonprofits

9:01 PM PDT, September 20, 2013

L.A. city controller says he plans to audit DWP nonprofits

Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin announced Friday evening that he will audit an estimated $40 million the Department of Water and Power paid to two nonprofit groups created to improve relations between the utility's managers and its largest employee union.

DWP says it can't track millions in ratepayer money

7:32 PM PDT, September 19, 2013

DWP says it can't track millions in ratepayer money

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has directed an estimated $40 million in ratepayer money to two nonprofit groups charged with improving relations with the utility's largest employee union, but the agency claims to have scant information on how the public funds have been spent.

DWP workers earned $77.3 million in extra pay in first half of 2013

12:14 PM PDT, August 15, 2013

DWP workers earned $77.3 million in extra pay in first half of 2013

In the first six months of this year, Department of Water & Power employees earned $77.3 million in extra pay for such things as overtime, laying cement or working in bad weather, according to an analysis released Thursday by Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin.

Costly perk forces DWP to shell out extra if it gives work to outside contractors

August 15, 2013

Costly perk forces DWP to shell out extra if it gives work to outside contractors

It's no secret Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees are paid well. But a little-known clause in their union contract ensures they can work extra hours and collect even higher wages when private contractors are hired to help them get the job done.

DWP changes lenient sick day policy after demands from City Hall

July 31, 2013

DWP changes lenient sick day policy after demands from City Hall

Responding to public criticism of an unusually generous sick pay policy, Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power said Wednesday it will immediately begin requiring employees to provide a doctor's note for absences of three or more days.

DWP's unlimited sick pay policy costs millions

July 26, 2013

DWP's unlimited sick pay policy costs millions

Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power has paid thousands of employees a total of $35.5 million since 2010 in extra sick days under an unusual program that the utility's top executive acknowledges has been vulnerable to abuse.

Judge not inclined to let DWP keep salaries and names secret

January 9, 2014

Judge not inclined to let DWP keep salaries and names secret

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant stared in disbelief Tuesday at a list of hundreds of Department of Water and Power employees who have asked that their names and salaries be withheld from the public, citing safety concerns.

Judge delays release of DWP employee names with pay data

3:19 PM PDT, May 8, 2013

Judge delays release of DWP employee names with pay data

The union representing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees won a temporary restraining order Tuesday, preventing the release of workers’ names with their salaries until each employee has had more time to argue that the identity disclosure could pose a safety risk.

DWP average pay rose 15%, despite flagging economy

May 8, 2013

DWP average pay rose 15%, despite flagging economy

Average employee pay at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rose 15% over the last five years, despite an economic slump that ravaged the city's budget, records released Tuesday show.

Exclusive: Average DWP pay rose 15% in five years, records show

1:56 PM PDT, May 7, 2013

Exclusive: Average DWP pay rose 15% in five years, records show

After a nearly four-month delay in the release of the information, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power made public five years of payroll data without workers names on Tuesday.

DWP union tries new tack to block release of payroll data

6:42 PM PDT, May 3, 2013

DWP union tries new tack to block release of payroll data

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees union on Friday demanded that agency officials sit at the bargaining table with them before publicly releasing workers’ names and salaries.

DWP union fights salary release; mayoral candidates trade blame

2:37 PM PDT, May 2, 2013

DWP union fights salary release; mayoral candidates trade blame

As lawyers for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees’ union fine-tune a proposed lawsuit to delay release of their members' names and salaries, both candidates for mayor are calling on the department to make the information public as soon as possible.

DWP workers tops in city with total pay averaging nearly $100,000

7:53 AM PDT, May 2, 2013

DWP workers tops in city with total pay averaging nearly $100,000

Employees at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power earned average total pay of nearly $100,000 in 2011 -- more than 50% higher than the average total pay of all other city employees, a Times analysis of payroll data found.

L.A. mayor candidates urge DWP to release pay records

May 2, 2013

L.A.'S RACE FOR MAYOR

L.A. mayor candidates urge DWP to release pay records

Shortly after lawyers for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees' union filed a lawsuit to delay release of their members' names and current salaries, both mayoral candidates called on the agency to make the information public as soon as possible.

DWP union is a big donor in mayor's race, its members get big pay

7:00 AM PDT, May 1, 2013

L.A.'S RACE FOR MAYOR

DWP union is a big donor in mayor's race, its members get big pay

Employees at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, whose union is the single biggest contributor in the current mayoral race, earned average total pay of nearly $100,000 in 2011, according to a Times analysis of the most recent publicly available payroll data.

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