In the second installment of this ongoing series, “LAX Executives Defund the Police,” the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA) is focusing on the business management of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).
Amazon, Twitter and Google have taken the lead in cutting the fat within the management ranks of their companies, which they indicate had led to inefficiency and bloated paychecks at the executive levels, most notably in comparison to rank-and-file workers.
LAWA has taken the opposite approach. During the pandemic, the airport brought on more deputy executive directors than LAX has ever had. As travel was at a standstill and there were the fewest people to manage in the course of the airport’s history, there was a hiring bonanza at LAX — but not in all areas.
LAWA Executive Director Justin Erbacci, with the concurrence and support of his CFO, Tatiana Starostina, expanded the costliest management ranks at the airport with redundant positions, while rank-and-file police officers’ paychecks were mismanaged and LAXPD was underpaid during the Christmas holiday season. Payroll cuts were imposed — among them, budgeted positions in the police division. During this time period, both the executive director and the CFO received compensation raises.
These financial decisions are important as LAWA proudly pronounces that LAX posted a single-day, post-pandemic record of more than 224,000 travelers over the Memorial Day holiday, and last week it was announced that the airport had selected its design-build contractor for the $1 billion landside portion of the Airfield and Terminal Modernization Project at LAX, which is a follow-on to its already $5.5 billion Landside Modernization Program. LAWA is “aggressively” planning for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, which will bring typical and atypical security and safety concerns associated with such a worldwide, multicultural event — but more so, given the state of our country and the world.
In the meantime, staffing at LAXPD is at a 15-year low and the exodus continues, while other police departments are successfully managing retention and recruitment of officers through incentives and morale-boosting interaction to understand their needs to ensure a productive workforce for public security and safety.
“We are on a mission to be heard,” LAAPOA President Marshall McClain said. “LAAPOA has made numerous commonsense and creative overtures to management to address officer morale and new hiring. They have fallen flat. While other entities are working hand in hand with law enforcement to support their forces, LAWA has stumbled through what we consider forced and unforced errors, like underpaying police at Christmas. Our series of ‘Defunding the Police’ releases will continue until substantive actions are implemented so that we have what we need as we protect LAX and the thousands of people it serves every day.”
To read Part 1 of this series, go to https://laapoa.com/2023/05/lax-executives-defund-the-police-part-1/.