Governance in a Changing Market: The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

By Walter Baer; Edmund Edelman et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Decisionmaking and Operational
Problems Under the Current Structure
As indicated in the previous chapter, DWP's governance structure is complex, divided, and cumbersome. Many operational and management decisions must be reviewed sequentially by different city bodies, including the commission, the CAO and other mayoral staff, the city attorney's office, and the city council and CLA. This structure was put in place deliberately to provide extensive checks and balances for a government department that had a monopoly on providing essential water and power services. Delays in making or implementing business decisions were of less concern and have had little adverse impact on DWP revenues or profitability during the monopoly era. That is changing as electricity restructuring moves forward in California and pressure builds to open the Los Angeles market to direct-access competition.This chapter discusses some of the problems evident under the current governance structure that could seriously hamper DWP in a more competitive environment. They include
a multilayer reporting structure for the general manager;
constraints and delays in hiring managers, professionals, and skilled workers;
constraints and delays in obtaining effective legal representation;
cumbersome procurement and contracting procedures;
constraints in negotiating customer contracts; and
DWP financing of other city operations.

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Governance in a Changing Market: The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Summary ix
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations xix
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - The Current Dwp Governance Structure 7
  • Chapter 3 - Decisionmaking and Operational Problems under the Current Structure 13
  • Chapter 4 - Other Governance Models for Municipal Utilities 23
  • Chapter 5 - Governance Options for Dwp 35
  • Chapter 6 - What Comes Next? 45
  • Appendix - A Brief History of Dwp 47
  • Endnotes 57
  • Bibliography 63
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