Saturday, July 24, 2010

LA City Hall and DWP – Poster Children For Parasitic Bureaucracies

Posted By CotoBlogzz 07-23-2010

What does it take to terminate an incompetent teacher, or a public sector employee for that matter? – an act of God.  Consider that of six DWP employees suspended with pay,  in April, 2010  after a KCBS Channel 2 / KCAL Channel 9 aired an undercover story showing  the  workers buying beer, drinking in a park, drinking while driving and entering a strip club, while on the job, said employees not only would have  two weeks to respond to the charges, but said employees would be represented by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers attorneys, the union that represents the employees.  If these attorneys are worth their weight in gold, such as the ones used by the California Teachers Association, chances are the employees will not be terminated, and id they are, they can retire with a golden parachute to boot.

After the KCBS expose, DWP General Manager Austin Beutner not only said that of the roughly 10.000 workers at the DWP, he thinks the bulk of them do their job, but also complained that KCBS was not sharing all the information to help him with his own investigation – implying that he has no clue as to what is going on in his own barn.

The KCBS report implied that the behavior at the DWP is cultural- contrary to Mr. Beutner’s assertions -  not unlike the behavior at the USPTO, the DMV, the SEC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or even the OCSD.  If confirmed, this also implies that in order to change the behavior, union leadership have to agree to change and take an active role in the change process, in addition to having outstanding management and leadership from the elected officials responsible.  Based on a new KCBS  report, it seems like the cultural assertions have more merit than Mr. Beutner’s:  “making nearly $100,000 a year -- money coming from the pockets of DWP ratepayers -- chugging down a Bud Light on the job,” writes David Goldstein’s report published July 12, 2010

Then there is the sparring between the DWP and the Los Angeles City Council over a $600,000 consultant fee – remember the $800,000 annual salary being paid to a Bell City official with city council’s approval.  Ironically, Los Angeles Mayo Villaraigosa, claims to be frustrated with DWP high-level bureaucrats.  “Part of the problem, said the mayor, is that almost everyone working at the DWP—more than 90%--belongs to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18,” according to the Mayor.  We disagree – More than 90% of the problem is because of the union.  Ironic, because the mayor defends his play-to-play approach to managing the city – that is, he accepts freebies in the name of requirements for properly managing the city, while the Los Angeles Ethics Commission is looking at adding stronger language – to appease the public.

So what happens now?  Apparently the Los Angeles City Council is following the lead from the Financial Reform Legislation:  Simply add more bureaucracy by adding a Rate Payer Advocate to do what Los Angeles City politicians are supposed to do, but have been incompetent to do!

There should be universal agreement among reasonable taxpayers that the LA City Hall and DWP are excellent examples of parasitic bureaucracies and why we continue to argue the need for fiscally responsible politicians to adopt a Bureau Realignment and Closure Initiative to close and or merge over 80% of existing bureaucracies.

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