Remarks by LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards Regarding City Controller & CAO Audits of Joint Training & Safety Institutes
Board of Water & Power Commission Meeting
May 5, 2015
The following remarks were made by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager Marcie Edwards at today’s meeting of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners regarding the Joint Training and Safety Institutes audits by the City Controller and Chief Administrative Officer:
“I would like to begin by thanking the Controller and CAO for their work and Mayor Garcetti as well as the City Council for demanding these audits take place. I am grateful that they have been completed, so that we can move forward with implementing the recommendations and putting the work of the Trusts on a new path – one of greater accountability and I believe greater effectiveness.
From Day One, I have believed that the work of the Trusts is the public’s business and that the work of the Trusts should be accountable and transparent. Simply put: our customers deserve to know how the money they entrust us with is spent.
In addition to transparency, we are committed to reform. DWP’s Management Trustees will push for implementation of the audits’ recommendations, consistent with the MOUs.
I believe that, going forward, implementation of the Controllers and CAO’s recommendations will assist the Trusts in gaining public credibility and allow them to more clearly focus on their mission of providing safety and training support for our employees who are members of IBEW.
These recommendations include:
- Strengthening financial controls over the Trusts by formalizing financial policies, including those governing procurement, travel & expense, transportation and other activities.
- Evaluating and recommending a merger of the two Trusts in order to realize efficiencies & streamline administration, including establishing a position of Executive Director.
- Improving program planning & reporting.
- Establishing performance measurement and reporting, including key performance indicators and outcomes.
As management trustees, we will advocate for these changes on our employees’ behalf. However, as you know, progress will require agreement between the labor and management trustees. You have my commitment to make every effort to reach that agreement on implementing these recommendations that are consistent with the MOU.
It is also important to note that some of these steps cannot be taken by the Trustees alone, and require an amendment to the MOU between the city and IBEW.
And finally, it’s important that I share something with you. The Trustees were advised that their review of the draft audit needed to be completed within three days, and that a response letter was required within that time frame. Since a detailed review and response was not possible in three days, the Trustees responded with a brief letter, stating in part that they needed more time to review, among other comments.
With respect to those other comments, I regret allowing my own frustrations with the audit process overall to lead me to agree to some characterizations which were not appropriate. For that, I sincerely apologize to the Mayor, the Controller and this Board. On behalf of the management trustees, we plan to embrace both the Controller and the CAOs recommendations for the Trusts, and work to ensure the trusts operate in such a way that they provide the greatest benefit to their beneficiaries, IBEW members, and do so consistent with developing and maintaining the public’s confidence. I believe that the recommendations in these audits form the basis of a good plan to move forward, and my fellow management trustees and I are anxious to begin that work in concert with the labor trustees.
Having said that, it always bears repeating that DWP has among the lowest power and water rates in Southern California. And don’t lose sight of other good news. We’ve been steadily improving operations and working hard to be more accountable through actions such as the benchmarking report that was recently completed and published by our Corporate Performance Unit that showed our rates were low, reliability high and most notably – our operating costs competitive and reasonable when compared to other utilities. We’ve been working with our customers to achieve record participation in our water conservation rebate programs, continuing to meet critical path deadlines on water quality projects and developing plans to ramp up investment in aging water and power infrastructure. And I could go on.
Let me close by saying we will learn from this audit and make the changes we need to give the ratepayers the reform they deserve and already seeing elsewhere in the Department. Thank you.”
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