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Outgoing DWP chief Nahai would keep full salary as consultant under proposal

October 5, 2009 |  2:28 pm

Nahai400 Officials at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials plan to give a consulting contract to the outgoing general manager of the power agency that would pay him the same salary he was earning as the DWP's top executive.

Just days after he resigned, David Nahai is slated to receive nearly $6,300 per week as a consultant to the utility.The DWP commission, whose five members are appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the plan.

DWP commission President Lee Kanon Alpert said he personally asked Nahai to stay on as a consultant, saying such agreements are normal when an agency’s executives are in transition.

“There’s nothing nefarious about it, nothing complex about it. This is a reasonable business decision, nothing more than that,” Alpert said. “David’s resigned, and we need his institutional knowledge for the next few months.”

Nahai did not return a call to his home seeking comment. 

Villaraigosa spokesman Matt Szabo confirmed that Nahai will continue to earn his current salary, $326,686.

Under that scenario, Nahai would earn nearly $82,000 by Dec. 31 as a consultant. [Updated at 2:34 p.m.: The contract would end at the close of 2009.]

Councilman Greig Smith, who represents part of the San Fernando Valley, said he would have a problem with the consulting contract if Nahai was also drawing a salary from the Clinton Climate Initiative, where he has taken a position as a senior adviser.

“I would be opposed to that, because it’s double dipping,” he said.

Villaraigosa has asked the commission to name Deputy Mayor S. David Freeman, the former DWP general manager, as the utility’s top executive for the next six months. The DWP’s media office did not immediately respond to a request for Freeman’s proposed salary.

Alpert said Nahai's contract does not require a vote by the commission. Nevertheless, he said he wanted the matter on today’s agenda for transparency and described the contract as “a very normal type of business transaction when a general manager of an organization resigns.”

“He may have knowledge we want to pick his brain on,” Alpert said.

-- David Zahniser

Photo: David Nahai in his DWP office in August. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Previously on latimes.com

Battered by criticism, H. David Nahai resigns from DWP

Environmentalist chief looks for bright future at DWP