first_imgIs there no end to what’s broken at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power? A Daily News examination has found that the city’s water and power utility has been relying on the short-term staffing trick of overtime – but for the long term, and in rather large quantities. For example, just for the second half of 2006, the DWP paid workers some $51 million in OT. About half of all the city utility’s workers caught some of that extra work and pay. In some DWP divisions, overtime accounts for nearly one-third of payroll costs. Throughout its long history, the city’s utility has been able to keep rates lower than other local utilities through a combination of brute force and shrewd investment. But in recent years, the agency aged into something more akin to a bloated government bureaucracy, making poor spending choices and overpaying its contractors and employees. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 The results are serious: The equipment is breaking down and needs to replaced; DWP officials have raised water rates and want to continue to do so over the next few years; outages, like the one last September, are becoming all-too common. Despite all this – and a new commission serious about reform – the DWP continues to follow bad money-management techniques. Here are just a few of the more egregious ones we’ve reported on: Dodgers sponsorships, public-relations contracts with international spin doctors, the annual multimillion dollar transfer to the city’s general fund. The OT abuse shows that the agency either needs more workers, or needs to use its existing work force more efficiently. But rather than making those kinds of changes, the DWP chooses to give current workers tremendous pay increases. Before DWP officials continue to press for additional rate hikes, they must end all of the money tricks, including excessive OT. And that’s unlikely to happen without a major shake-up of the management.last_img

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