DWP employees allegedly caught drinking being terminated

The Department of Water and Power initiated termination proceedings today against two employees allegedly caught drinking on the job by a CBS2 investigation, the department announced today.

The CBS2 report showed three DWP workers drinking and driving on the job and going to a strip club called Alameda Strip when they were supposed to be working and spending over two hours there.

"We have concluded a portion of our investigation into allegations of misconduct by several LADWP employees, and as a result, earlier this morning we initiated termination proceedings against two of those employees," said DWP General Manager Austin Beutner.

"Under the process set forth by state law, the city's Civil Service Commission and department policy, we informed the two employees of our intention to terminate them for misconduct," he said. "They will now have the opportunity to respond to the allegations and the proposed action and we will consider their response before rendering a final decision.

"We expect this process to be concluded in the next two weeks. Our investigation and review into allegations of potential misconduct involving alcohol, drinking and driving or other inappropriate behavior by additional employees remains ongoing."

He said four other employees are under investigation by DWP.

The alleged misconduct was the subject of an investigative story broadcast on KCBS Channel 2 on April 29, but Beutner criticized the TV station for not helping with the department's investigation.

"After the story aired, we contacted KCBS and requested their assistance in providing additional information regarding their investigation," Beutner said. "They declined our requests. To date, we have been denied even the most basic information and cooperation to assist in our investigation, including the dates their video footage was taped. While we respect the right of the press to protect their sources, we fail to see how the failure to provide us with basic information – dates, times, and unedited footage – serves the community at-large.

"Any incident involving alcohol and motor vehicles may present a risk to public safety. We would hope any such incident would be reported to proper authorities immediately. In the words of the Times Square hero who saved thousands of lives by reporting a suspicious vehicle, 'See something, say something.'"

He said the public can contact DWP directly to report any potential misconduct by employees. The DWP Office of Special Investigations can be contacted directly, and anonymously, by calling (213) 367-9111 or by visiting the DWP website at www.ladwp.com and clicking on the security badge icon on the homepage.

Residents can also send an e-mail that goes directly to DWP investigators.

"I have also asked for a review of our current oversight and supervisory practices to ensure appropriate supervision of our field crews, and I expect our senior assistant general managers for the Water and Power Systems to report their findings and recommendations for improvements shortly," he said. "We will provide further updates as our management review and investigation continues, and as circumstances warrant."

The internal investigation was overseen by Patrick Findley, director of LADWP Security Services, a veteran of 31 years as a captain at the Los Angeles Police Department, with the support of the department's Power System, Employee Services Division and the City Attorney's Office.