LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The general manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power apologized days after criticizing a controversial audit.
Marcie Edwards on Tuesday praised the recommendations of the audit, which just days ago, she blasted when she signed onto a letter by an I.B.E.W. union boss.
“I regret allowing my own frustrations with the audit process overall to lead me to agree to some characterizations, which were not appropriate, and for that I apologize,” Edwards said.
As CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo reports, it’s a vindication of sorts for L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin.
“I don’t need apologies,” said Galperin, who was tasked with auditing two DWP nonprofit safety and training trust funds, which received about $4 million per year in ratepayer money.
He says the trusts are jointly run by representatives of the I.B.E.W. and the DWP have fostered a culture of excess, overblown salaries, and expenses with $660,000 spent on travel-related costs to conferences alone.
“The sum total of it was offensive. The amount of money on restaurants was really offensive, I have to say,” Galperin said.
The Controller’s audit and another by the City Administrator recommend drafting expense policies, more oversight, and possibly merging the trusts.
Galperin says the city should also analyze whether the trusts are needed at all.
“We still don’t have a clear idea of exactly what these trusts do in terms of safety and training that the DWP doesn’t already offer because the DWP on its own has about $100 million-plus that it spends on safety and training,” Galperin said.
The commissioners agreed with the recommendations of both audits and directed the general manager to report back every 30 days on the progress of implementing them
But even Galperin acknowledges that some of the recommendations will require the city to amend its agreement with the union.