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.

Average employee pay rose 15% over the last five years to $101,237 in 2012, according to records obtained by The Times.

The median household income for Los Angeles residents – the public utility’s customers – fell over roughly the same period, from $48,882 in 2008 to $46,148 in 2011, the latest year for which U.S. Census numbers are available.

The DWP's politically powerful employee’s union is still opposing release of individual workers' names. A court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning to address that issue.

The state of California, Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles all routinely release their payroll with employee names. Courts have allowed rare exceptions in cases where the employee’s safety might be put in danger, citing undercover police officers and people who have restraining orders against potentially violent stalkers.

DWP spokesman Joseph Ramallo attributed the pay hikes to cost of living increases, “variations in overtime from year to year and other factors that can influence an individual employee’s compensation.”

Other drivers were compensating employees for unused vacation hours, or accumulated overtime when they retire, Ramallo said.  

Pay at the DWP has become a hot topic in the mayor’s race because the union is the single biggest contributor, giving $1.45 million to an independent group that supports Wendy Greuel.

Union leaders have said they will ask the next mayor for more raises.

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jack.dolan@latimes.com

@jackdolanLAT

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