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.”