Originally posted at CityWatch LA.
By Paul Hatfield.

If silence means consent, then DWP Chief Ron Nichols is covering up a clandestine operation in the form of two nonprofit trusts. The trusts ostensibly exist to develop safety programs for the municipal utility.

Nichols is first and foremost an employee of the City of Los Angeles. He is obligated to serve the best interests of the residents and ratepayers. Maybe he has not read his job description.

Do you think that he would at least express some serious concerns about $4 million per year of ratepayers’ money funding the trusts without a full accounting? Well, he did say, “There is no reason for not having greater transparency with respect to this.”

Thank you, Ron, for taking such a firm stance; drawing a real line in the sand. Brian D’Arcy must feel threatened.

As an ex officio member of the board that oversees the nonprofits, Nichols receives financial reports at the monthly meetings. The Los Angeles Times reported that he does not take the documents with him.

He was asked if he could retrieve the documents. His response was, “I suppose I could.”

That’s what I call commitment.

Did Nichols graduate from the Michael Scott School of Management?

I would like Nichols to answer the following questions:

What plans do the trusts have for the cash building up their balance sheets? On average, $3 million of the $4 million provided by the ratepayers are being spent.

At board meetings, what questions have you asked the management of the trusts about their activities?

What were their answers?

Were you satisfied with the answers?

If not, did you report your concerns to elected city officials?

I could understand if Nichols did not convey any reservations to former City Controller Wendy Greuel. That would have been the equivalent of going to Brian D’Arcy. But Ron Galperin is not Greuel.

It is time for Nichols to start talking… or writing his resume.

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Paul Hatfield is a CPA and serves as Treasurer for the Neighborhood Council Valley Village.  He blogs at Village to Village, contributes to CityWatch and can be reached at: phinnoho@aol.com.