8 Ways to Fix the LADWP
Having enough with the so-called games—both new and old—between the largest municipally-owned utility and customers, Councilmember Greig Smith yesterday introduced eight sweeping motions addressing transparency and oversight. The comes as Los Angeles' faces a close-call with bankruptcy (May 5th?!?!), stemming from the carbon surcharge standoff between the City Council and LADWP Commissioners.
Five of the eight motions seek placing ballot measures before the voters:
- Improve customer service and make customer billing more transparent and easier to understand.
- Put a charter reform measure on the ballot to require the DWP’s budget, which was previously a closed book, to be voted on and adopted by the City Council.
- Put a charter reform measure on the ballot requiring Council approval for all rate increases.
- Put a charter reform measure on the ballot for wage parity, leveling the “paying field” between DWP positions, which pay much higher salaries, and identical positions in other City Departments.
- Discourage employee migration to DWP by preventing them from vesting in the DWP pension system for five years.
- Put a charter reform measure on the ballot to enable the City Council to remove any DWP Commissioner with a 2/3 majority vote.
- Put a charter reform measure on the ballot to enable the City Council to remove any DWP General Manager with a 2/3 majority vote.
- Reform the DWP Board of Commissioners, removing the Mayor’s sole appointment authority and dividing it among the Mayor, City Council and Neighborhood Councils. A certain number of Commissioners would also be required to have requisite expertise in specific industries.