L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday he’s asked the Board of Department of Water and Power Commissioners to demand a full financial accounting of $41,146, 900.08 the utility has given over the last ten years to a pair of trusts partially controlled by a labor union.
“I told the Commission to go in there, get that information, bring the daylight to every corner of this public utility,” Garcetti said in an interview in Westwood.
“This is ratepayer money, it’s not a private company, we should know how much we’re putting in…and obviously, where it’s being spent.”
The trusts, called the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, were openly established with a city ordinance in October, 2000 and were designed to unify safety training efforts from the DWP and its union, Local Union No. 18 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
According to city documents the trusts were to each be paid a minimum of more than $1-million a year in perpetuity based on the number of employee hours worked at a rate of 25-cents per hour.
Even though the ordinance governing the trusts requires annual audits, none of the spending has ever been made public and the DWP and IBEW have fought efforts by the Los Angeles Times to obtain financial records.
“If there’s nothing to hide, and it’s a good thing, then we can move on,” Garcetti said. “But the longer we can’t get those answers, the more you wonder what’s going on there.”
-- Eric Leonard