The Los Angeles City Council is expected to confirm Marcie Edwards, Mayor
Edwards would take the helm at a particularly rough time for the DWP. Managers are still working through the problems caused by the new $160-million customer service system that sent out inflated bills last fall, prompting a flood of phone inquiries that overwhelmed the underprepared call center. The DWP also needs to modernize its aging water and electricity delivery systems. At the same time, it must invest in renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in order to fulfill state and city requirements, and must invest in water recycling to deal with future shortages.
As if those challenges weren't enough, Edwards would join the DWP just as Garcetti is taking on the entrenched political power of Brian D'Arcy, the business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, the union representing most DWP employees. Its political action committee bankrolled Garcetti's opponent in the election, a miscalculation that has given the mayor unusually free rein to challenge the union's disproportionate influence in DWP operations. The general manager's position is a tricky one because he or she has to work with the union, answer to the mayor and appease the City Council, which still includes many D'Arcy allies.