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Report on deadly rampage prompts Edison to cut management

September 26, 2012 |  6:58 pm
Irwindale gunman Andre Turner may have had financial problems

In response to a consultant's report that pointed to bloated management as one factor contributing to an "unhealthy" workplace environment in the department targeted in a shooting rampage last December, Southern California Edison said it will cut 20% of its managers in the information technology department.

In an internal email to employees this week and obtained by The Times, SCE President Ronald L. Litzinger wrote: "This is a difficult but necessary step in IT's efforts to streamline decision-making, communication and the way IT provides and supports technology to enable the overall business to succeed."

In the Dec. 16 rampage, Andre Turner, 48, who worked in the information technology department, appeared to target supervisors. He killed two -- Robert Lindsay, 53, and Henry Serrano, 56 -- and wounded another supervisor and a contractor before fatally shooting himself.

PHOTOS: Gunman shoots 4 at SoCal Edison office in Irwindale

Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives said Turner had been reprimanded for missing an audit deadline.

After the incident, Edison commissioned an independent audit of the work environment in the information technology department to "provide the company with a candid assessment" and suggest improvements, Edison spokesman Steve Conroy said.

"The company deeply regrets what happened but there is nothing in the company’s work environment that caused this tragedy and there is no way anyone could have anticipated these actions," Conroy said.

Nevertheless, the report by incident management team, completed in May, was highly critical of the workplace climate at the facility.

The report noted "key issues which include workplace climate and culture concerns and stressors related primarily to a fundamental lack of leadership in many areas, and resulting in loss of trust, lack of respect, fear of retaliation, inefficient decision-making processes, poor communication, lack of work/life balance, abusive management styles, lack of management accountability, perceived absence of fairness and a shortage of recognition."

The report suggested reducing the middle management layer as one step toward a healthier workplace.

Conroy said the company has already implemented some of the report's suggestions, including enhancing security measures, workplace violence prevention and crisis response programs; augmenting management training programs; and reviewing the performance appraisal process.

The decision to make the cuts to management came after the company's new chief information officer, Todd Inlander, "assessed the management structure, leadership practices and procedures to streamline the organization and improve decision-making and communications."

Last month, Edison announced plans to cut 730 jobs at the San Onofre nuclear plant, which has been closed for nearly eight months because of equipment problems. A company spokeswoman said no job cuts are planned in other departments.


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-- Abby Sewell

Photo: Andre Turner.  Credit: KTLA-TV Channel 5