Changes Promised After Water Dept. Audit Reveals Flaws

Massive changes have been promised after San Diego city leaders learned how a city agency gave out millions of dollars in bonuses.

The 10News I-Team first started asking questions about the bonus program last year, and an audit released in February validated questions and revealed inflated claims of savings and, in some cases, goals that would have been achieved even without a bonus.

"This has been a program that most people inside and outside have seen as a laughingstock," San Diego City Councilman Carl Demaio said. "And then we've gone about and paid out bonuses based on that flawed program."

Demaio isn't the only one asking why city utility workers received $28 million in bonuses since 2006 while ratepayers watched their bills go up 35 percent.

"This program had a lot of flaws. It was in different departments … there was lax oversight," Councilman Kevin Faulkconer said.

Last month, a city audit concluded the bonus money was mismanaged, citing "administrative time and costs are not tracked," that "the department lacks an effective system for tracking these expenditures" and that “records of the total payouts and the number of employees receiving payouts have not been maintained."

"I admit, we need to do a better job of administering and managing the program," Director of Public Utilities Jim Barrett told 10News on Feb. 3.

Barrett will be leaving his job after four years heading up the utility department, but sources told the I-Team it has nothing to do with the bonus giveaway.

Sources said Barrett took another job.