This week the El Dorado Irrigation District board on a 4-1 vote, I voted against it, put in place a new agreement with the employees association. It is being touted as a big deal, big savings, real reform of EID’s health care costs, pension costs and salary costs.
I voted against this agreement for several reasons.
As I said in the meeting the EID board’s doubling of water rates so rapidly was and is having a HUGE impact on our ratepayers … and if we are handing out raises and cost of living adjustments to our lobbyist, our general manager and the general counsel as was recently done (I voted against it, another 4-1 vote). And now to the majority of the employees, where is the relief, the COLA if you will, for our ratepayers? There is none.
I was comfortable with doing a max 2 percent COLA for the employees to help them keep up … but not 5 percnet raises on top of that. These are not merit raises mind you, you get a tidy raise, on top of the COLA, just for “meeting expectations” each year.
I come from the private sector where you give and get raises for improved performance, for doing better. Not for just “meeting expectations.” And you certainly don’t hand out raises when your organization is in deep debt and would frankly be bankrupt except for the fact that the EID Board can jack up rates to whatever they want, anytime they want, with just a 4-1 vote.
EID is claiming $3 million savings over three years. That is not the full truth. The net savings, after accounting for all the raises and other costs, is really only about $274,000 a year, if that, over the life of the agreement.
Hey, any savings is good savings right? Yes, but to put it in perspective, this grand agreement that the EID Board and management is boasting of that addressed health care costs, pension costs (EID is still paying out millions of dollars each year for the unfunded portion of the overly lavish pensions doled out not so long ago) and salaries, is about seven-tenths of 1 percent (.007) of our operating budget.
This was not a grand compromise or real reform that will ease pressure on the escalating water, recycle and sewer rates … it was an exercise in nibbling at the edges, but boasting otherwise.
EID Director District 5
El Dorado Hills