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Worker Buyouts at DWP

August 06, 1995

* Re "Riordan Calls for Inquiry Into DWP Worker Buyout," July 27:

It really frosts me that Mayor Richard Riordan, whose goal is to obtain additional funds from the Department of Water and Power for his police recruitment program, and who was the impetus for DWP's downsizing, restructuring and the deferral of necessary construction projects that has eventually led to the DWP worker buyout plan, has the gall to be quoted in The Times saying, "This is the type of thing that doesn't pass anybody's smell test."

Perhaps the smell is closer to Mayor Riordan's own nose. Robbing from DWP to pay LAPD. It really stinks!

MOE H. LEE

Cerritos

* With all of the publicity and fanfare that one can imagine, the mayor and City Council directed the general manager of the DWP to reduce its work force. They encouraged the work force reduction efforts by directing the general manager to offer DWP employees a voluntary leave of absence. Many employees who participated in this effort returned to college, some were "assigned" or "loaned" to other utilities. In both cases, money was saved or reimbursed to DWP. The mayor and City Council then directed DWP's general manager to begin negotiations with the various unions who represent DWP employees for the purpose of working out agreements for retirement and separation incentives. Subject to the nod of the mayor and City Council, the retirement and separation incentive agreements were finalized and implemented.

Since these programs have been implemented DWP has had an overall savings of nearly $100 million. These savings have been specifically earmarked for infrastructure improvements and efficiencies that stay within DWP's operating budget. Mayor Riordan's and Councilman Joel Wachs' real complaint is that these savings are not being transferred into the city's general fund.

THOMAS BILICH

Alhambra

* The DWP will continue to waste large sums of money as long as there is no accountability. Fire those responsible for not clearly thinking out a loophole-free buyout plan.

How can an employee with 2 1/2 years service be eligible for a $25,000 buyout anyway? Not too long ago, during a work stoppage, DWP management spent over $700,000 on catered dinners that would have satisfied Romulus and Remus. If I remember correctly, not one high-ranking bureaucrat was terminated for this overindulgence at customer expense.

ROBERT SENNETT

Sylmar

* Mayor Riordan should be pleased to learn how inventive and enterprising city workers can be. Instead of using high-priced consultants to help make city government more efficient, like the ones who devised the DWP's worker buyout plan, the mayor should be engaging employees like Jocelino Joun.

FRANK ALBERS

Redlands

* At the time I was employed at the Los Angeles DWP it was not permissible to take a leave of absence in order to take employment elsewhere that was not within the City of Los Angeles civil service system. Violation of this rule was cause for dismissal. In the Rufus Hightower case (July 28), just because the DWP general manager euphemistically calls Hightower's move to Pasadena an employee "loan" doesn't make it so.

The only employee loans I was aware of were for community or charitable causes, and I have yet to hear that the Pasadena municipal power agency fits in either category.

SHIGEO YUGE

Los Angeles

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