DWP employees paid up to three times that of private sector

Los Angeles city hall wikimediaA new study by the California Policy Center found that employees at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power make up to nearly three times the pay of their private-sector equivalents:

The largest premiums are found in generic jobs such as custodians, garage attendants, security officers, and the like. The average DWP security officer, for instance, makes 288 percent more than a non-DWP security officer working in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. Overall, the weighted average wage premium for DWP employees performing generic jobs was 90 percent over their counterparts in the Los Angeles area. For all jobs, and including the value of benefits such as pensions and employer paid health insurance costs, the premium for DWP employees as estimated to be 155 percent higher – that is, 2.5 times as much – than for employees performing work with similar job descriptions in the Los Angeles area.

“Applying these premiums to the number of employees at the DWP, the total cost to rate-payers of the DWP paying above market wages is estimated to be $392.8 million a year.”

The result of the extra pay ends up being borne by ratepayers. As the Los Angeles Times reported:

“Meanwhile, residents of Los Angeles face yet another rate hike, only a couple of years after an 11.1 percent increase in electricity rates. DWP officials have recently suggested that they plan to seek recurring rate hikes of at least 2 percent per year beginning this year to fix infrastructure. But CityWatch is reporting that Angelenos should expect rate hikes of 5 percent to 8 percent a year, for each of the next five years. Residents in January paid 57 percent more for electricity than the national average, according to the BLS.”

Here’s the Table from the study showing the pay discrepancies.

DPW salary study chart

11 comments

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  1. Hondo
    Hondo 1 April, 2015, 20:46

    Ten years ago LA spent 3% of its budget on pensions. I’m guessing that 20 years ago it was closer to 1%. Now LA spends 18% of its budget on pensions and that number is going to fly past 20% very soon.
    The public employees were perfectly well treated with pensions at 3% of the budget. Each percentage point is billions not spent on services for us, the taxpayers and citizens.
    Hondo…….

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 3 April, 2015, 06:56

      You could not be more correct Hondo!!
      The people in California have failed at installing honest politicians that would look out for the taxpayers money, we have been usurped by the RAGWUS and its minions, 🙂

      Reply this comment
  2. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 3 April, 2015, 08:44

    ” A new study by the California Policy Center ”

    Should be taken with a very substantial grain of salt.

    ” All data on Transparent California has been compiled from public records requested and received from the associated political entity and is provided as a public service. We are not responsible for errors contained in those public records.,

    Data they receive is not uniform from one government entity to another and the different categories of pay may be conflated.

    This is not exactly an unbiased source.

    Reply this comment
    • Robert Fellner (@GrimHogun)
      Robert Fellner (@GrimHogun) 7 April, 2015, 07:36

      So when you are unable to dispute the facts reported, you resort to the cowardly act of implying the findings are flawed because of who reported them.

      Wish I had seen this side of you earlier, would have saved me some time.

      FYI The data used is from the California State Controllers Office, is defined clearly, and was reviewed by the DWP themselves who only complained about my including OT in the op ed example, and said nothing about findings of my study which EXCLUDE OT.

      Except for one paragraph where I report that DWP employees can earn OT pay for work that outside contractors perform.

      The level of cognitive dissonance required for you to write a comment like the above – i have no evidence whatsoever but just know it must be wrong! – and accuse others of bias is staggering.

      Reply this comment
      • SkippingDog
        SkippingDog 7 April, 2015, 13:44

        Garbage in, garbage out, Robert. When the data isn’t properly counted and sorted, the results have no support.

        Reply this comment
      • S Moderation Douglas
        S Moderation Douglas 7 April, 2015, 22:13

        Roughly speaking, it appears that city GAs show roughly $50,000 + in regular pay, and about $16,000 “benefits” for total pay of around $66,000.

        DWP GAs typically show about $66,000 regular pay, benefits “not provided”, and total pay about ($66,000) roughly equal to regular pay, plus OT.

        It appears that reporting methods are different between different departments. I recall you said you had called DWP to verify the data and were going to investigate further.

        I understand, and can see in the SCO data that city, county, and state departments vary greatly in the way they report data.

        As long as DWP continues to list benefits as ” not provided”, I will myself, and recommend to others, take your “study” with a grain of salt.

        And, yes, it is very clear that you and your organization are biased. Do you seriously deny that?

        Reply this comment
  3. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 7 April, 2015, 21:36

    Oh! Robert!

    That hurts. Did the LA DWP break down for each employee, or each position, exactly the
    1. Wage
    2. Overtime
    3. Healthcare costs
    4. Actual or approximate pension contribution

    It doesn’t appear so in either your data or the SCO data.

    It looks like you did some extrapolating. And I do not trust your math.

    As my friend Carl Sagan said: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    Does the LA DWP have any “executive secretaries”?

    Reply this comment
  4. S Moderation Douglas
    S Moderation Douglas 7 April, 2015, 23:59

    First of all, if they are referring to the security guards, isn’t “288% more” actually nearly FOUR TIMES that paid by the private sector. If so, just out of curiosity, according to the California Policy Center:

    “The DWP offers a specific, real-world example of just how egregiously public sector unions can enrich themselves at the expense of the public.”

    What kind of union enriches a guard by 288% more, but only 76% more for an electrical mechanic?

    Enquiring minds are more likely to suspect a gross error in calculations. As Skipping Dog said, GIGO.

    When someone accepts this kind of results without verification, it is called a “Seilerism”.

    If you really want, we can get into specifics, like using 11% of private wages as a cost of health insurance. If you actually read Biggs, you would understand that health insurance is usually a fixed dollar benefit, so it is a higher percentage for low paid workers, and lower percentage for higher paid.

    Or we could seriously discuss using MVL vs AAL to discount pensions. It’s not as settled as you might think.

    Or the BLS “comparisons”….a veritable minefield of questionable data.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof…..I don’t see it.

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 10 April, 2015, 06:41

    LA is gone. No hope. A morass chasing pro jock straps!

    Reply this comment

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John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for CalWatchDog.com, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles, LewRockwell.com, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

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