Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Lavish raises

EDITOR:

On Feb. 25, the EID Board voted 4 to 1 (Board member Alan Day voting no) to approve pay raises of 2 percent for staff each year for the next three years. Many employees will get 5 percent step increases on top of that. Look at the increase in your water and sewer bill to see what these pay raises are costing you. Yes, your rates are up and so employees are now are getting pay hikes.

When is the last time you received a raise in your salary? This EID Board is out of touch with ratepayers and our current economic environment. Instead of lavish raises, why not give ratepayers a rate reduction?

BOB LUCA
El Dorado Hills

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 7 comments

  • Mary Lynn CarltonFebruary 27, 2013 - 4:31 pm

    Luca’s Letter is Wrong Bob Luca’s letter is misinformed and wrong. You would think that a District Attorney’s investigator would have more interest in the facts -- especially when he’s accusing EID’s Board of being “out of touch.” As the Mountain Democrat accurately reported, on February 25 the EID Board and Employee Association agreed to implement the Public Employee Pension Reform Act five years early. As far as we know, we’re the first public agency in the region to accomplish this. It will save the District’s ratepayers $3.1 million between now and 2018, because employees will begin paying their full share of their pension contribution by the end of this year -- a permanent 4% reduction in their income. Without negotiations, EID could not have implemented this reform until 2018. As a career-long public employee himself, Mr. Luca knows full well that a public employer is required to bargain with unionized employees over wages and benefits. In this bargain, in return for the pension concessions, the current union contract was extended for three years, through 2016. The extension includes annual CPI-based cost-of-living adjustments between 0% and 2%. If inflation is zero, the COLA is zero. If inflation is 3%, 4%, 5%, or even more, the COLA is 2%. Most experts expect inflation to be significantly more than 2%. We think this deal serves our ratepayers. Mr. Luca thinks it’s “lavish.” He pads his claim with half-truths about merit increases. To begin with, half of EID’s workforce today is not even eligible for these raises. And by 2016, only 10% of employees (fewer than 25 people) will be. Finally, eligible employees are granted merit increases only if they meet or exceed job expectations and defined performance measures in their annual evaluations. Mr. Luca wants readers to think that salaries are what’s driving EID’s rates -- they aren’t. Even if every possible merit increase was earned, and inflation was at least 2% in every year, EID’s payroll would grow 3.9% in 2014, 3.2% in 2015, and 2.5% in 2016. Meanwhile, staffing has been reduced 30% and total operating expenses have dropped $4.7 million (nearly 10%) since 2008. Projected increases for operations and maintenance are limited to 2% per year going forward. The real 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. These facts don’t make for a ripping Letter to the Editor, Mr. Luca, but at least they’re the truth. Mary Lynn Carlton, El Dorado Irrigation District, Director of Communications & Communitiy Relations

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  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 27, 2013 - 6:40 pm

    Thank you, Mary. Your letter is a welcome rebuttal to the likes of Luca and Prada. You go, girl!

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  • Greg PradaFebruary 27, 2013 - 6:53 pm

    One has to wonder why EID ratepayers pay more than $170,000 of salary, medical benefits, pension contributions, car allowance, etc. etc annually to receive willfully distorted EID propaganda from EID Communication Director Ms. Carlton. Ms. Carlton earns her lavish keep by issuing a multitude of press releases, "newsletters" and "Meeting Our Commitments" brochures cumulatively touting more than $25 million of "savings" since Jim Abercrombie became EID General Manager in September 2009. Yet somehow despite all all these claimed "savings" EID's Board has approved 102% of water rate increases for 2010-2015. If EID were truly making all these multi-millions of "savings" ratepayers wouldn't need to pay $170,000 to Ms. Carlton to hear what a great job EID is doing. They also wouldn't be paying 102% of rate hikes while most employees are getting 7% annual pay hikes, far above the 2.5%-3% average that has been the "new normal" for the past five years throughout America. Mr. Luca's letter is 100% factually correct, his question about rate reductions is a fair one, and Ms. Carlton's claim of $3.1 million savings is bald-faced deceit.

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  • Ernie LouisMarch 01, 2013 - 2:12 pm

    Good Letter Mary, Back in my PR days, we would both be called "Paid Mourners" I don't get EID wages and fringes, I just get the EID bill. We have a lot of work to do before we obtain Transparency and Accountability. Good luck to us all. Ernie Louis

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  • billzzMarch 01, 2013 - 8:33 pm

    Why not just dig a well?

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  • Phil VeerkampMarch 01, 2013 - 10:21 pm

    Bill, you think there's enough ground water down there for everybody? . . . . really? . . . sheesh! You’re joking. Right?

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  • billzzMarch 02, 2013 - 12:21 pm

    Why would I be joking? Can't one determine if there is water for a well? We moved to the Pollock Pines area in 2000, and for two years prior (coming out for the Sac Jazz Fest) went over every road (used to be a military surveyor) with a GPS enabled topographic mapping system. There were few houses for sale so looked at a lot of raw land, and all said there was water, and a few had wells already dug. I may be naive, but there are well digging firms around here, so there must be some business. It is a normal question to ask.

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