$70K pay for janitors + rate hike should = revolt

by CalWatchdog Staff | June 6, 2013 6:15 am

June 6, 2013

By Chris Reed

LADWP[1]Last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power imposed an 11 percent rate hike — which it called a “rate change”[2] — on its power customers, while water customers saw rates go up 5 percent.

Millions of Angelenos will no doubt be thrilled to know what this is paying for: $70,000 a year janitors. No wonder DWP unions want to keep pay data secret.

This is from the L.A. Times[3]:

Average DWP pay: $101,237. It’s good to be DWPer

“Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant stared in disbelief Tuesday at a list of hundreds of Department of Water and Power employees who have asked that their names and salaries be withheld from the public, citing safety concerns.

“On the list were mechanics, typists and meter readers.

“‘This is frivolous on its face; I mean, these are DWP employees,’ Chalfant said, noting that the names of government employees are public and even undercover police officers have a hard time demonstrating they would be in danger if their names appeared on a list of department employees. …

“The average DWP employee, including everyone from the highest-paid engineers to the lowest-paid temps, made $101,237 in 2012, the data show.

“Among the job titles that saw the biggest average pay increases over the last five years were custodians, up 25%, from $56,060 to $69,995.

“Welders’ and machinists’ pay grew 18% on average to $132,548 and $142,562, respectively. Those figures represent full-time employees who worked entire years in 2008 and 2012.

“Employees seeking anonymity made $110,730 on average in 2012, 12.4% more than workers whose names were released.”

White House hearts federal employees

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the public employee gratification front, The Washington Post reports the Obama administration is seeking a raise in pay[4] for all federal employees.

The raise may be small (1 percent), but the same “step” pay raise policies seen in California government are used in the federal government, so the claim that federal employees have gone years without pay hikes is simply wrong. And aren’t we supposed to see belt-tightening and shared sacrifice in this post-sequester era?

Instead of pragmatism, we get disinformation. “As the President stated in his [fiscal year] 2014 Budget, a permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable,” a White House statement noted.

The myth of a ‘permanent pay freeze’

What “permanent pay freeze”? Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have gotten step raises in recent years.

And who says a pay freeze for government employees — with raises earned for performance, not for staying alive — “is neither sustainable nor desirable”? Turnover among federal employees is minuscule. That indicates compensation is far more than adequate.

Government employees aren’t just a protected class in California[5]. It’s a federal phenomenon as well — a depressing one.


  1. [Image]: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2013/06/06/70k-for-janitors-rate-hike-should-revolt/ladwp/
  2. “rate change”: https://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/faces/ladwp/aboutus/a-financesandreports/a-fr-proposed-rates;jsessionid=r1ppRv0M5tD4tTy42F8lmKQXBkKjKK2hh2pNC7gL9kQy4gngz1cl!-1442471082?_afrLoop=1084246334786000&_afrWindowMode=0&_afrWindowId=null#%40%3F_afrWindowId%3Dnull%26_afrLoop%3D1084246334786000%26_afrWindowMode%3D0%26_adf.ctrl-state%3D4o4rmyc6i_4
  3. L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-dwp-salary-fight-20130605,0,5771814.story?track=rss
  4. raise in pay: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/06/04/white-house-again-calls-for-federal-employee-raise/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
  5. protected class in California: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-02/stockton-ruling-makes-public-employees-a-protected-class.html

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2013/06/06/70k-for-janitors-rate-hike-should-revolt/