DWP Board Approves Raises

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to adopt a new contract for most employees that promises a minimum 12-percent raise over the next five years.

The pay increases could be larger depending on economic factors, according to DWP documents.

"Our goals I think are shared by all of us," said interim City Administrative Officer Rich Llewelyn. "Long term stability for the utility - it's a trying time for any utility."

The contract now goes to the L.A. City Council for consideration before final approval by the Mayor.

It also ends direct public funding of two mysterious private entities largely controlled by the union, the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute.

The Institutes had amassed millions of dollars in payments from the DWP under previous labor agreements with little oversight.

Attempts by the City of L.A. to perform an outside audit of the public funds led to a series of legal challenges.

"I think that will be extremely well received, it will certainly be well received by the ratepayers," said Commission president Mel Levine.

"It became sort of an outsized issue and a very good one to have behind us," he said.

In a letter to members of the I.B.E.W. local 18, the union that represents most DWP employees, union head Brian D'Arcy urged members to ratify the contract.

"I respectfully recommend a vote to ACCEPT," he said.

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