Something amazing happened Tuesday at the —something that left board members almost speechless.
There wasn’t much of anything on the agenda for the meeting, and no one was expecting anything particularly newsworthy.
Until, that is, the heads of the two employee groups at the district stepped up to the microphone for brief comments.
You know, , that the district is looking at a in the budget by the end of 2012, and that severe cuts are planned—in fact, have already started, because the directors swore they would to make up that shortfall.
Both employee groups have, as part of their contracts, a payment to their retirements equal to 3.5 percent of their salary, to be paid by the district.
Eric Lucie of the blue collar workers and Brian Thornberg of the mid-management employees stepped up to the mic ...
... and gave it back.
That’s right—you’re not seeing things.
They gave it back.
Two employee groups with contractually obligated money coming said “Keep it, we’ll pay the 3.5 percent out of our own pockets.”
The directors had been told something good would happen, but not what.
The employee groups came up with this on their own.
Lucie explained, “It just goes to show our belief in the workforce partnership, and the employees’ desire to work and help the district through this rough spot. This is a good place to work, and we want to help keep it that way." The sentiments were echoed by Thornberg.
The two employee groups also gave back two guaranteed “floating holidays,” which the district would also have had to pay for.
Director , who has been the one pushing the workforce partnership, could only thank the employee groups and comment that it’s hard to imagine a better relationship between than exists at Padre Dam.
General Manager Allen Carlisle told me after the meeting, “You know, this is my third public sector job, dealing with public sector employees, and I’ve never seen anything remotely like this happen before.”
This is NOT chump change we’re talking about here.
These givebacks will shave at least half a million dollars off that projected shortfall, at NO cost whatever to ratepayers.
If you still think there’s mismanagement and waste at , let me give you a frame of reference to consider.
The Otay Water District has just voted to give its management people, and their spouses, LIFETIME health care, at district expense, and jack up their paychecks the exact amount of the insurance costs.
To make it worse, Otay is also planning to offer the same benefits, with the same raises, to all its unionized employees.
Where does Otay get the money to pay for all this largesse?
Why, the same place Padre Dam gets its money—from you, .
When you hear about Otay ratepayers charging the Otay district offices with torches and pitchforks, à la Frankenstein, think about the difference between the two districts.