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The PJ Tatler

Stephen Kruiser


July 26, 2013 - 4:58 pm

I’ve got the hometown blues…

Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power has paid thousands of employees a total of $35.5 million since 2010 in extra sick days under an unusual program that the utility’s top executive acknowledges has been vulnerable to abuse.

DWP employees benefit from a 32-year-old policy that allows them to take paid days off well beyond the agency’s 10-day-a-year cap on sick days. Last year, 10% of the department’s roughly 10,000 employees took at least 10 extra days off, the data show. More than 220 took an extra 20 working days off, or about a month, according to a Times examination of data obtained under the California Public Records Act.

In fact, records and interviews show, there is no limit to the paid time off DWP employees can take when they say they’re sick, and requirements to provide medical proof of their illness have been loosely enforced.

So there’s a cap, but it’s not really a cap and even if it were there aren’t any rules. And there are probably three hundred pages devoted to describing this in LADWP’s HR manual. At least the lawyers are making some bank.

Even in a city this size-and especially for a city this broke-$35.5 million is no small amount to chuck down the toilet. One generally has to go to the federal level of bureaucracy to find something this ridiculous but it does serve to prove that, if it is efficiency you’re looking for, any government involvement doesn’t help.

Stephen Kruiser is a professional comedian and writer who has also been a conservative political activist for over two decades. A co-founder of the first Los Angeles Tea Party, Kruiser often speaks to grassroots groups around America and has had the great honor of traveling around the world entertaining U.S. troops.

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The fun part of this article (which ran on the front page of today's paper) is that the front page of the LAExtra section (basically local news) has another article where DWP is pushing for more money, so they can give their union members raises. They've passed around enough campaign contributions to guarantee that they'd get their money, as far as the city council is concerned, but they backed the loser in the Mayoral race, and the winner doesn't seem inclined to give them their money, at least not without making them squirm a bit first.

Los Angeles has no Republican Party of course, at least not really, so politics here mainly involves trying to figure out which liberal democrat is going to waste the least amount of money. You usually hope for someone who will only fritter away ridiculous amounts of money, instead of obscenely ridiculous amounts. Often times you're disappointed even then.
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