Represent!

Politics, government and public life for Southern California

City Controller says DWP union's audits don't answer enough questions

Controller Ron Galperin, center, was joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, and City Attorney Mike Feuer when he announced subpoenas against DWP union chief Brian D'Arcy in an effort to determine how $40 million in public money was spent.
Controller Ron Galperin, center, was joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, and City Attorney Mike Feuer when he announced subpoenas against DWP union chief Brian D'Arcy in an effort to determine how $40 million in public money was spent. Alice Walton/KPCC

The head of the Department of Water and Power's union says he's trying to clear the air on how millions of taxpayers dollars have been spent. But City Hall says it's still not enough. 

In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Brian D'Arcy says his duty as a trustee to two nonprofits funded by the DWP with taxpayer dollars — the Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute — prevents him from turning over certain financial records.

And that's despite subpoenas from L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin.

D'Arcy is using IBEW Local 18's website to post audits that purport to show how $40 million was spent over the past decade by training and safety institutes jointly run by the union and DWP.

"This audit should dispel any doubt about how the trusts are spending their money," D'Arcy writes. "Among other things, it shows that 75 percent of the trusts' expenditures go to fund safety and training programs provided to employees, while 25 percent is spent on administration of the trusts."

According to the controller, that information is already publicly available.

"It does not pass muster and just raises more questions," Galperin said Thursday in a statement. "As controller, I am dedicated to a simple principle of transparency: anyone who receives public funds must account for their use of those funds — and this latest ploy just doesn’t cut it."

The two sides are expected to be in court later this month to argue about the release of financial records. 

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