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May 06, 2015

L.A. Utility Head Apologizes for Criticizing Nonprofit Audit

The general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has apologized to city leaders for assailing an audit of two controversial nonprofit groups operated by the utility and its employees' union, writes the Los Angeles Times.

Marcie Edwards had joined union head Brian D'Arcy in signing a written statement asserting that auditors were "conjuring up baseless accusations about nonexistent malfeasance" about spending by the Joint Safety Institute and Joint Training Institute.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 18, which represents most Los Angeles utility workers, went to court to prevent an audit of the nonprofits, whose spending of tens of millions of ratepayer dollars had been questioned by Mayor Eric Garcetti and other top city officials. The union ultimately agreed to municipal scrutiny of the groups' books under a November deal brokered by City Council members.

A report released last week by city Controller Ron Galperin's office said the nonprofits issued millions of dollars in contracts without proper bidding, provided 19 credit cards to their officials, and funded travel for employees to Hawaii and Las Vegas, the Times previously reported. At a meeting Tuesday of the commission that oversees her agency, Ms. Edwards, a Garcetti appointee, said her public criticism of the audit was "not appropriate."