Los Angeles

Three DWP Retirees Clear More Than $1 Million in Pension Pay: Report

Three retired Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees earned more than $1 million in pension benefits last year, according to data from a nonprofit watchdog group.

The average employee compensation including retirement costs for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employees jumped to $170,000 last year, with the average pension for a full-career DWP retiree at $72,643, according to Transparent California, a project of the Las Vegas-based Nevada Policy Research Institute.

Last year retirement makes up 50 percent of pay, the report said.

"Forever they've put the needs of the few, in the form of the politically powerful union, over the ratepayers and residents of Los Angeles," said Transparent California research director Robert Fellner. "What makes the DWP so unique is every aspect of compensation is extremely generous."

TransparentCalifornia.com released 2016 pension payout data from the DWP, the nation's largest municipal utility district, in response to multiple records requests over nearly three years.

The top earners, according to Transparent California:

  • Former DWP electrical engineering associate Nevenka Ubavich: $363,061.
  • Former general manager Ronald Deaton: $356,806.
  • Former assistant general manager Frank Salas: $336,432.
  • Former assistant general manager Thomas Hokinson: $239,885.
  • Former assistant general manager Gerald Gewe: $231,348.

The DWP said the report omits key information, saying the highest earner was under an old retirement plan, and retired at age 87, accumulating more in retirement than someone with 30 years.

The DWP said a retirement system put in place in 2013, is estimated to save ratepayers about $5 billion over 30 years.

"New employees hired since January 2014 are part of a pension system with a higher retirement age, reduced retirement formula, increased employee contribution rate, increased time needed to vest, and elimination of the DWP matching employee contributions, as well as suspended reciprocity with the city of Los Angeles," the statement said. "This pension reform will save ratepayers as LADWP's rapidly aging workforce retires and new employees are hired."

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