Overtime payouts at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have hit a record $250 million dollars. Data shows that more than 300 employees made $100,000 or more in overtime, nearly a 1000% increase from just five years earlier. Principal security officer, Ricardo Frias, the man who received the biggest overtime check, earned 12 times his base salary totaling $313,865. In a statement released today, June 11th, the group, Transparent California, stated that the average LADWP worker made $134,600 last year, and when the cost of employer-paid retirement and health benefits is added in - $199,764. Other top earners from the LADWP include:
1. Electric Distribution Mechanic Supervisor Joseph Strafford, who made $452,659.
2. Senior Load Dispatcher Mark Hardie, who made $443,610.
3. Senior Load Dispatcher Robert Goodson, who made $432,727.
The statement also reported that, "payroll expenses at the LADWP were vastly higher than peer utility agencies, both regionally and nationwide. Specifically, the study found the LADWP's total payroll expense was equal to $488 per customer served, whereas the median rate among large utility companies nationwide was only $282."
If the numbers are indeed reported correctly, this would suggest that the LADWP is dishing out an additional $424 million annually in comparison to the median peer utility company nationwide.
Water rates have steadily been increasing by an average 5.26 percent annually, due to the 5-year rate hike plan set by the LADWP.
Transparent California also looked at overtime payments from the LA Fire Department. The top earner there made just over 300,000 in overtime last year.
The LADWP says the overtime is due to vacancies in some of its key positions. It says it has consistently taken steps to recruit more skilled workers and reduce its overtime hours while still operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.