Letters to the Editor

The truth about EID compensation

By From page A5 | March 13, 2013


Greg Prada’s letter to the editor (“EID passes 7 percent wage hikes”) is misinformed and wrong. Although he was present for the February 25 EID Board meeting, this self-proclaimed “ratepayer advocate” seems less interested in facts than in political spin.

Mr. Prada would have readers believe that salaries are driving EID’s rates. They are not. Even if every possible merit increase was earned, and inflation was at least 2 percent in every year, EID’s payroll would grow only 3.9 percent in 2014, 3.2 percent in 2015, and 2.5 percent in 2016—not 7 percent annually.

The fact is half of EID’s workforce isn’t even eligible for a salary step increase. By 2016, fewer than 25 employees will be. And eligible employees are only granted the increase if they have met or exceeded job expectations defined in performance measures on their annual evaluations.

Here’s another fact: The EID Board and Employee Association agreed to implement the Public Employee Pension Reform Act five years early. This action will save the District $3.1 million between now and 2018. Our employees will pay the full share of their pension contribution by the end of this year. This amounts to a permanent 4 percent reduction in their income.

In return for the pension concessions, the current association contract was extended for three years, through 2016. The extension includes annual CPI-based cost-of-living adjustments between 0 percent and 2 percent. If inflation is zero, the COLA is zero. If inflation is 3 percent or higher, the COLA is 2 percent. We think this deal protects our ratepayers.

Since 2008, EID staffing has been reduced by 30 percent and total operating expenses have dropped $4.7 million — nearly 10 percent. Projected increases for operations and maintenance are limited to 2 percent per year going forward.

The reason EID’s rates are rising is to pay annual debt costs that will increase from $19.8 million in 2012 to $29.4 million in 2016. We incurred that debt to refurbish the facilities that provide our customers with safe, reliable drinking water and wastewater treatment, and to respond to ever more burdensome regulatory mandates handed down by the state and federal governments.

Jim Abercrombie
EID General Manager

Letter to the Editor

Discussion | 2 comments

  • Greg PradaMarch 06, 2013 - 8:16 am

    Abercrombie’s headline blares out “The truth about employee compensation”. Yet his “truth” lets him have it both ways…cunningly deceiving angry ratepayers in 2010 and now again in 2013. EID DECREASED employee pension contributions from 8% in 2010 to 4% for 2012 and 2013. Abercrombie negotiated this decrease as a de facto stealth employee compensation increase. Abercrombie never told ratepayers about this stealth compensation increase just as he didn’t tell about current $127,000 average employee pay packages. But he sure told ratepayers about employee furloughs and other purported employee compensation changes that he extensively advertised as “saving” the ratepayers money. Now Abercrombie is reversing the 2012-2013 employee pension contribution decrease and calling that reversal a “permanent 4 percent reduction in their (employee) income”. If Abercrombie had not decreased the employee contribution in the 2010 labor agreement, he would not have needed to now undo part of EID’s huge $53 million unfunded pension and retiree medical problem he aggravated in his 2010 negotiation. Again Abercrombie has demonstrated that he doesn’t tell the Board and public all the pertinent facts before he asks the Board to hit the green spending button in their votes. So it’s no surprise Director Alan Day had no idea that five percent step increases for most employees were tucked away in Abercrombie’s proposed labor agreement extension. (Day told his other Board members that he only thought the new deal included 2% pay hikes. The Board audio recording is being posted on www.FixEID.org so interested ratepayers can hear for themselves.)

  • Jon JakowatzMarch 07, 2013 - 9:29 am

    Thank you Mr. Abercrombie for giving us "the truth": EID spending UP - Check ("...EID’s payroll would grow...") EID rates UP - Check ("... EID’s rates are rising...") EID debt UP - Check ("...annual debt costs that will increase...") "...protects our ratepayers." Now there's a whopper Fox&Henhouse line!! Jon Jakowatz Advocate for EID Fiscal Sanity El Dorado Hills



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