(FOX 11/ CNS) - Trustees of two groups that received about $40 million in ratepayer funds from the Department of Water and Power continue to rebuff requests by the city controller for financial data, DWP officials said today.
After expressing frustration at the failure of the two trusts to complete their own internal audits, members of the DWP Board of Commissioners last month called on City Controller Ron Galperin to move forward with an independent probe into the spending activity of the Joint Safety Institute and the Joint Training Institute.
City officials complained that the two trusts, which together receive about $3 million to $4 million a year from the DWP as part of a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18 -- the union representing DWP workers -- have not provided a full accounting of how the money has been used.
The groups have received a total of about $40 million over the last decade, according to estimates by city officials.
DWP General Manager Ron Nichols, who sits on the board of both trusts, told commissioners today that the union and DWP management were "deadlocked" on providing the data.
"I don't agree with the stiff-arm approach that's been undertaken by the union members of the trusts," he said.
The DWP Board of Commissioners today instructed DWP managers sitting on the boards of both trusts to withhold approval of any future checks that come before them. If they are unable to do that, they asked that DWP management keep a record of any checks that are approved and any transactions that trusts make.
"Every day that goes by, it looks worse," DWP Commissioner Jill Banks Barad said. "Where there's smoke, there's fire. I don't see why the union boss doesn't see that."