We’re going to take a quick break (but not for long) from the Los Angeles Police Department’s costly shenanigans and look at those of the troubled Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP).
In a recently filed lawsuit, Patrick Findley, a retired Los Angeles Police Officer employed with the DWP as the Director of Security and Emergency Management, alleges that he was terminated after he reported numerous instances of illegal acts by employees, the Department’s failure to address security gaps that resulted in the DWP’s non-compliance with federal regulations.
Among the allegations made by Findley are that DWP supervisors routinely directed on-duty subordinate employees to perform non-DWP related tasks for their own personal benefit and the exploitation of DWP resources for personal use by employees including performing non-work related activities while on the clock, using DWP vehicles for personal business and completing a false police report after the Department removed one of their vehicles from a casino parking lot claiming that the car was stolen from the employee’s home. Findley says that DWP employees would repeatedly leave work during work hours for extended periods of time and falsify Department timesheets—and that’s not even the half of it. There’s mention of a burglary at a DWP facility with Department supervisors failing to notify law enforcement or take any other disciplinary action concerning said burglary as well as an employee arrested for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
According to Findley, last December he was forwarded an email from DWP General Manager Marcie Edwards stating that “Effective immediately, no one is authorized to release information to the City Controller’s Office unless that release has been vetted and approved by the DWP Chief of Staff.” The email said that this practice would be in effect until superseded by a formal policy.
That might have something to do with last year’s audit of the DWP by City Controller Ron Galperin that found that we, the ratepayers, footed the bill for thousands of dollars in free gas for employees and expensive steak dinners, as well as millions in contracts without competitive bids. The audit was the result of a year-long battle between the City of L.A. and the DWP union looking into how more than $40 million of ratepayer money was being spent. Galperin’s office found that top DWP employees had charged $421,000 worth of conference expenses, including trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas and other cities. They also spent ratepayer money on expensive steak dinners and $86,000 worth of expenses for personal cars.
The lawsuit says that Findley was called to a meeting with DWP Senior Assistant General Manager David Wright on January 28 and informed that he was being terminated. Wright told Findley that he couldn’t give him a reason for his firing.
You can read the entire lawsuit here.
Findley was hired by the DWP in 2008 after 30 years with the LAPD. He is largely credited with exposing major vulnerabilities at the nation’s largest municipal electric utility including security gaps that resulted in the Department being out of compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) federal regulations.
In March, the Los Angeles City Council approved DWP’s proposal to boost water rates 4.7% and power rates 3.86% each year for five years.