Los Angeles city leaders are scheduled today to consider a potential resolution to multiple legal disputes over questions of how a pair of Department of Water and Power employee training and safety trusts spent at least $40 million in ratepayer money over the past decade.
If approved, the agreement reached between city officials and DWP employee union chief Brian D’Arcy could result in the city releasing $4 million to the two trusts, an annual payment that was withheld this year by the city Controller.
D’Arcy who heads the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18, has refused to allow financial documents from the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute to be audited by Controller Ron Galperin’s Office.
Galperin, in turn, refused to release the utility’s annual $4 million payment to the trusts, which were formed more than a decade ago to smooth relations between the city and the union.
The agreement before City Council would include most of the 13 conditions proposed by City Council members that must be met before the city would release the $4 million, according to a city report, with the exception that the two sides would not be settling a disagreement over the controller’s right to audit the two trusts.
One of the conditions in the deal could potentially allow the city to thoroughly audit the past five years of financial activity at the trusts.
Other terms called for the trusts’ management board to include DWP General Manager Marcie Edwards and other utility executives, and for the trustee boards to begin meeting regularly again.
The boards have not met in the past eight months, with the union objecting to a pair of management trustees appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, though a judge recently ordered the union to recognize them as legitimate board members.
City officials who pushed for the deal were also concerned that by not releasing the $4 million payment, the city would be accused of violating terms of a recently reached labor agreement with the union.
The labor agreement, signed last summer, defers cost-of-living increases for three years and institutes a new pension tier.