According to records released this week, average employee pay at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rose 15% over the past few years despite the national economic slump.

DWP workers generally receive more generous pay raises than other city workers. Household income for LA residents fell from $48,882 to $46,148 over a similar period. DWP pay rose from $88,299 to $101,237.

The LA Times explains that “DWP compensation has become a central issue in the May 21 mayoral election, in which there has been much debate over whether the city’s labor contracts are too costly given the fiscal problems that have resulted in major cuts in services.

“The union representing most of the DWP’s workers has become the single biggest source of campaign cash in the race, giving $1.45 million to an independent effort backing City Controller Wendy Greuel.

“The only pay growth comparable to the DWP came at the city Fire Department, where average total salary and other payments also rose 15% over the five years to $132,131. But officials note that about 300 positions were cut from the Fire Department in that period, which required increased overtime payments to fill positions.”

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