As expected, Union Boss Brian d’Arcy, the business manager of IBEW Local 18 that represents over 90% of the workers at our Department of Water and Power, has refused to come clean over the use of more than $40 million of Ratepayer money that was funneled to the Joint Safety and Training Institutes since 2000 under a deal cut between the union and its friends in City Hall.
Rather than hand over the detailed financial records of these two nonprofit trusts to bulldog City Controller Ron Galperin as ordered by a Superior Court judge in March, d’Arcy has appealed the ruling with the unfounded expectation that the Court of Appeals will reverse the judgment.
Now all we have to do is wait a few more months as this drama – which began in September with Jack Dolan’s front page article in The Los Angeles Times – unfolds in the courts, the press, City Hall, DWP, Neighborhood Councils, homeowner associations, and most importantly, in the court of public opinion.
Boss d’Arcy’s defiance that flies in face of increased transparency called for by the LA 2020 Commission … of which he was a member … is a public relations disaster for the IBEW, providing explosive ammunition for his political opponents, including Galperin, a champion of transparency, Mayor Eric Garcetti who has pledged to reform DWP, and the Ratepayers who are footing the bill for the IBEW Labor Premium and all the added costs associated with the union’s highly restrictive work rules and excessive overtime.
His arrogant antics are also bad for the image of our Department of Water and Power. Combined with the unfavorable publicity involving the problems with the introduction of the new Customer Information System, some of which has been stirred up by the Boss, Marcie Edwards, the newly appointed General Manager, has decided not to pursue needed rate increases because of the toxic political atmosphere surrounding the Department.
The relationship between d’Arcy and the DWP, the City, and the Ratepayers is likely to become even more combustible as the results of the Garcetti requested “benchmarking” study of DWP’s labor costs (salaries, medical benefits, and pensions), work practices, overtime policies, and the efficiency of its operations relative to other regional utilities are made public.
More than likely, this benchmarking study will confirm previous findings that DWP’s operations are not nearly as efficient as other regional utilities because its salaries, medical and pension benefits, staffing levels, overtime polices, and work rules are completely out of whack.
In what many perceive as d’Arcy’s offense against the adverse publicity from the two nonprofit institutes and the benchmarking study and Garcetti’s efforts to reform the DWP, the Boss has become more aggressive in flexing his muscles and filing more time consuming grievances, including ones related to approved outsourcing work related to the Power Reliability Program which is way behind schedule and considerably over budget.
Boss d’Arcy is also hell bent on maximizing straight overtime and double time for his members to offset the lack of any salary increases in the latest contract.
He is also working his relationships with the members of the City Council, of which at least ten have benefited from IBEW campaign contributions while the others are concerned that he will finance their opponents if they do not support his self-serving agenda.
Will DWP management, the Board of Commissioners, the Mayor, and the City Council cave to the demands of IBEW Union Boss d’Arcy, or will they stand up for the Ratepayers like Controller Galperin and demand transparency and accountability?
Stay tuned. But it will not be pretty as we the empowered Ratepayers will not rollover and play dead. We will demand greater transparency and significantly more accountability of the DWP and our elected officials.
Cross-posted at LA City Watch.