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James accuses Greuel of not publicizing high DWP salaries

February 22, 2013 |  1:28 pm

Kevin James at a mayoral debate at the Cal State Los Angeles on Monday. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James continued to attack City Controller Wendy Greuel over her ties to the union representing Department of Water and Power workers, asking on Friday why Greuel left out utility workers in her public database of employee salaries.

In 2010, Greuel listed nearly every approved position in city government on the controller's official city website. But the list, and updated versions published since then, excluded positions at the DWP. “Why the immunity?” James asked at a news conference outside of the utility’s headquarters.

He accused Greuel of leaving out DWP workers, whose high salaries have been a point of contention for many, because of her relationship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, which represents about 8,600 employees of the DWP. The union is helping to fund a campaign committee that has spent close to $1 million on advertisements supporting Greuel, according to city ethics records.

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The Greuel campaign dismissed the attack, saying the controller’s office doesn’t have direct access to the DWP’s salary information, since the utility manages its own payroll. “We can’t post something that we don’t have access to,” said Greuel spokeswoman Shannon Murphy, who previously worked in the controller’s office.

She noted that when Greuel published the salary database in 2010, she urged the DWP and the Community Redevelopment Agency, another department that managed its own payroll, to make their salaries public.

In fact, all government employee salaries, including those at the DWP, are published on the state controller’s website. Murphy said Greuel has posted links to the state controller’s site in the past.

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"This is another desperate attempt by Kevin James to get attention while he's tanking in the polls," Murphy said. "We need a mayor who can hit the ground running, not someone whose lack of knowledge will paralyze the city.”


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Photo: Kevin James at a mayoral debate at Cal State Los Angeles on Monday. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times