Ordinance Targets DWP Transparency, Accountability

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Proposed ballot measures to reform the Department of Water and Power moved forward on Tuesday, though the Los Angeles City Council is still working out the details.

Changes Coming To DWP: KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz Reports

The council unanimously directed its attorneys to draft an initiative that would ask voters to create an Office of Public Accountability staffed with a ratepayer advocate or inspector general, who would evaluate the need for proposed rate increases and investigate complaints of fraud, abuse and waste.

The council also unanimously called for an initiative that would require the DWP to release its annual budget earlier than is currently allowed, and to specify the surplus revenue that must be remitted to city’s general fund.

Proposed reforms affecting the governance of the DWP also moved forward today, but the council could not reach agreement on the details and plans to hold further discussions, either on Thursday or Monday.

Currently, DWP policy is set by the five-member Board of Water and Power Commissioners appointed by the mayor.

Some council members proposed expanding the board to seven members, only half of whom would be appointed by the mayor; the rest would be appointed by the council president.

There were also suggestions to shorten the board members’ terms; require at least some of them to meet certain job qualifications;  and allow the council — by a two-thirds vote — to either remove them from office or reverse their dismissal by the mayor.

Another proposed initiative that is subject to additional debate would give the council authority to fire the DWP’s general manager with a two-thirds vote.

The council has a Nov. 2 deadline to direct the City Attorney’s Office to draft measures for the March 8 ballot. It has until Nov. 17 to finalize the language of those initiatives.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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