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Austin & Antonio: Good Guy, Bad Guy Doublespeak

In light of the mayor’s scathing criticism of DWP’s management, it’s worth noting what the mayor’s point man, Jobs Czar and Interim General Manager Austin Beutner is telling the utility’s staff.

“While I have been at the Department for a few days, I have already gained great respect and admiration for the linemen, engineers, managers, support staff, and thousands of professional men and women of this Department. You insure the reliability of incredibly complex water and power systems. For this, I extend the thanks of a grateful City,” Beutner said in a letter to staff Monday. (Read the full letter at OurLA.org)

“These efforts are led by a very capable senior management team that gets the
job done day in and day out. The senior management team has my confidence,
and I look forward to working with them over the coming months.”

His words are in sharp contrast to what the mayor told the LA TImes last Wednesday, words that drew a sharp rebuke from union boss Brian D’Arcy and set off a firestorm of anger among senior managers.

“For four years, I’ve battled a bureaucracy that just won’t respond to the policy direction” to move away from coal toward renewable fuels like solar and wind energy. It’s been an absolute war,” the mayor said.

“Every time that we tried to figure out what the numbers are,” the bureaucracy resists. “Getting through that Byzantine bureaucracy is very difficult…. We’ve got to figure out a way to make that agency more transparent.

“They undermined [former General Manager Ronald] Deaton, they undermined [former General Manager David] Nahai. Even [outgoing General Manager S. David] Freeman,” Villaraigosa said. “…I’m talking about that upper-level management…You can’t fire them. They just go back to the Civil Service system” and they lose about $15,000 in salary as well as their city-provided cars, but they stay in the DWP. “They out-wait you. They’ve out-waited everybody.”




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14 Responses to Austin & Antonio: Good Guy, Bad Guy Doublespeak

  1. Anonymous says:

    What’s funny is the upper level management he’s complaining about isn’t even part of IBEW.
    IBEW represents the blue collar workers, technical engineers, and clerical workers. DWP upper management is represented by the MEA.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Tony’s comment about “battling a bureaucracy not responsive to policy change” is a laugh and a half. What he is saying is that they won’t do it my way, therefore they are the problem! As if Tony’s way has any merit or benefit to the citizens of this City. Let’s see, Tony’s way is a ten thousand policemen, a million trees, him taking over the public school system, selling off city assets, funding a book fair in Mexico, solar panels on every building (but only if he can tell us how to do it and what labor to use), borrowing from our future to give money to gang-bangers, proposing lay-offs while increasing his own department’s budget……that’s Tony’s way. Does this remind anybody of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic for the band to sit comfortably and play for another hour – oh, and somebody, please, bring them some more hot chocolate.
    PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO RECALL HIM AND CIRCULATE IT FOR OTHERS TO SIGN.

  3. Walter Moore says:

    And for those too young for hot chocolate: lactation.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ron, you keep beating a dead horse……….

  5. George says:

    Anon at 350pm: The horse is not dead!
    Every month new people, turning 30, 35 or 40, or paying taxes for the first time or stumbling on this blog need to hear it. The biggest error is assuming that everyone knows what you do.
    As should be quite obvious from the pension mess, the clueless stories at the LA Times until a week ago, and so on, that is just not the case.
    I hope this blog does not exist only for those considering themselves the world-weary ones in the know: that type of “professor on campus” insularity is one reason we’re in this mess.
    I wish kids at UCLA were reading this. They ought to be: its their future too. They’ll learn more here than in the LA Extra supplement (or whatever its called now) of the Times.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous – 3:50 PM
    You are absolutely correct “keep beating a dead horse” as long as the mayor continues to hold his current position. Ron, keep beating a dead horse. Well said!!!

  7. Sandy Sand says:

    Beutner: “While I have been at the Department for a few days, I have already gained great respect and admiration for the linemen, engineers, managers, support staff, and thousands of professional men and women of this Department.
    Wouldn’t it be nice — if not totally fanciful — if the DWP’s rate payers were included in that group Beutner has gained so much “great respect” for?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hell, he’s just saying all those nice things so that he doesn’t get fragged one day.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’ve no respect for Beutner. If a wealthy man like him has no courage, what can you expect from the civil servants whose pay check depends on scumbag managers hired by the Mayor.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice — if not totally fanciful — if the DWP’s rate payers were included in that group Beutner has gained so much “great respect” for?
    It would also be heartwarming if he vouched for world peace, and included a little prayer for all the little children of the world.
    But seeing as how that was an internal memo addressed to his employees, it makes sense to expect him to just address his employees.
    I’ve no respect for Beutner. If a wealthy man like him has no courage, what can you expect from the civil servants whose pay check depends on scumbag managers hired by the Mayor
    Other than being guilty by association (which is fallacious in itself), what exactly do you think is wrong with the guy? And what do you mean by courage, that’s such a broad term and very ambiguous when applied to the political arena.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If he had the courage he’d call the Mayor on his BS, and refuse to be a party to the rip-off of the citizens.

  12. Anonymous says:

    If he had the courage he’d call the Mayor on his BS, and refuse to be a party to the rip-off of the citizens.
    And exactly what BS are you referring to, and in what forum? And what do you mean by “be a party to the rip-off of the citizens?”

  13. Anonymous says:

    We’ve got one wishy-washy Mayor.

  14. In Eagle Rock says:

    The defender(s) of the Mayor might present some of the good things Tony has done in his style of management. There are many bad things- bad decisions, corrupt motives, deliberate acts of misrepresentation and circumventing any “transparency”- that are known about Tony’s operation and that’s a long list.
    The Mayor AND the City Council have a history of doing things FOR the unions over the city’s (the people living and working in L.A.) interests.
    Buetner was appointed by Tony to do his bidding, as were the predecessors. Some hearings into the appointment might be called for but that might get into “transparency” that’s too close to (Tony’s) home. The relative importance of the position, the agency and the appointee’s own intersts, all would be reasons to get into some hearing for the tax payers’ benefit, at least. (and they are on the lowest level of the City Hall totem pole, if you haven’t noticed before).
    The public utility owned by a city is not supposed to use it’s customers as an endless source of money to give it a free hand to act, an to act in a way that is contrary to the interests of the “rate payers” yet that happens.
    Why does it have “profits” to give away to the city general fund instead of infrastructure development and maintenance? THAT cash flow is what happens to be part of the “carrot and the stick” to make Council give in to whatever DWP wants. Dennis Zine gave a loud denunciation of te DWP and then somewhere after that bandwagon was parked, the DWP rate hikes were approved.
    The ruse of the 11-2 vote on establishing the “findings” for Garcetti’s last-minute end-around the Brown Act notice requirements was an example. IF there were LESS than 10 votes at that time, the matter would be dead, then and there, with regular processes to follow, allowing public comment.
    This should let people know Garcetti is result oriented, that the ends justify the means- and it always has been that way with him. That smooth talk still cannot change underlying facts, only cover them until some breeze comes along to let you see the real picture, usually too late to change the outcome for THAT one. Get him next time- but keep your eyes on the shells as he deftly manipulates them.
    Instead, that vote on the motion had 5 “NO” votes that did not stop the matter from moving along with 8 “YES” votes. The NO voters were ineffective as this was “show” for some of them. Opposing the process or the hike itself could have been more easily determinative at the “findings” stage.
    These guys and the mayor and all of them, too often work to choreograph their moves and look for some political mileage for what they do. That’s why a turnover of each officeholder is needed. Elections for Even numbered districts is in March 2012. That’s one light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s hope there’s no cave-ins, earthquakes or floods that close any of these tunnels.

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