Ratepayers again didn’t get a seat at the table on June 25 as the El Dorado Irrigation District initiated new, behind-closed-door labor negotiations.
Literally millions of dollars of EID employee compensation and lavish benefits are secretly being discussed … including current per employee $78,000 average salaries, $18,500 medical plans, $12,800 pension contributions, and up to 50 days, equivalent to $15,000, paid time off annually.
On February 13 similar secret meetings resulted in EID’s board approving a token change to employee contributions to EID’s lavish medical benefits program. Starting in 2013 employees will contribute a paltry 10 percent of dependent medical premium costs and continue to pay absolutely none of the employee medical premium costs.
Yet EID press releases touted the 2013 initiation of 10 percent dependent premium participation as some type of huge employee concession and “savings” to ratepayers.
On the heels of approving 102 percent of water rate increases for 2010-15, isn’t it time that EID’s board start being fair and equitable to ratepayers and require substantial reductions in EID’s bloated $27 million of employee salaries and benefits?
Reducing the above per employee $46,300 of medical premiums, pension contributions and paid time off to a still whopping $30,000 would trim the 102 percent of rate increases by 8 percent. And it would still leave the average annual EID employee compensation at $108,000. How many non-government employees in Placerville receive $108,000 compensation packages?
The current EID employee agreement does not expire until Dec. 31, 2013. But absent reductions in the lavish employee benefits, a fiscally responsible board would order immediate layoffs and furloughs to trim enough compensation costs to reduce rates by the 8 percent that reasonable employee benefit levels would produce.
EID General Manager Jim Abercrombie repeatedly touts that EID’s rates are “fair and equitable.” Ratepayers deserve to see General Manager Abercrombie and the EID board take action to start to prove that “fiscally responsible “and “fair and equitable” mean something.