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DWP to terminate 2 workers caught on tape apparently drinking, driving and patronizing strip club

May 19, 2010 | 11:49 am

The head of the Department of Water and Power said Wednesday the agency has begun termination proceedings for two employees caught in an undercover video sting in which they appeared to visit a strip club in the middle of the workday and drink and drive in a city vehicle.

Four other employees also caught on tape are still being investigated for alleged misconduct, DWP General Manager Austin Beutner said at a news conference.

The department suspended six employees from their normal duties last month and launched an internal probe after KCBS Channel 2 / KCAL Channel 9 aired the unflattering footage, which appears to catch the workers buying beer, drinking in a park, drinking while driving and entering a strip club -- all while on the job.

Beutner said the agency asked the TV stations for help with its investigation but that they declined to divulge information about when and where the journalists observed the misconduct. Beutner said he was “disappointed” by their refusal to assist the probe.

Along with the investigation of the employees, the agency also launched a wider review into its oversight and supervision system, Beutner said.

Though he acknowledged that “misconduct by a few reflects on the whole, unfortunately,” he said he hoped the rest of the DWP workforce would not be tainted by the scandal.

“We‘ve got about 10,000 workers,” he said, “I think the bulk of them do their job and do it well.”

The two employees, who were notified Wednesday of their planned termination, were not named. They will have two weeks to respond to the charges, at which point a final determination will be made on their status with the DWP.

Bob Cherry, a spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the union that represents the employees under investigation, would not say whether the employees would contest the charges.

-- Kate Linthicum at DWP headquarters downtown