Santa Clara Valley Water Board rejects compensation decrease

 

The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s board of directors voted
4-3 against a compensation decrease Tuesday night that would have
reduced their meeting stipends to 2009’s rate of $260.03.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s board of directors voted 4-3 against a compensation decrease Tuesday night that would have reduced their meeting stipends to 2009’s rate of $260.03.

Board members who voted against the decrease were Tony Estremera, Joe Judge, Patrick Kwok and Richard Santos. Those that voted for the decrease were Board Chair Don Gage, Linda LeZotte and Brian Schmidt.

“If we’re going to be asking employees to take some hits, I think we need to lead by example and do the same. Even as small amount as it is,” said Gage.

The board then made another motion to keep the pay raise as is, at $286.03 per meeting and day’s service up to 10 meetings a month for the 2012 calendar year. The motion passed unanimously.

Gage said he was not expecting the vote to turn out as it did.

“No, I wasn’t happy. I wanted it reduced. But I thought it was a fair compromise,” he said. “You got to go with the majority.”

Vice-chair LeZotte and Schmidt authored a proposal that called on the board to decrease its own compensation.

“Given the state of the economy, and the demonstrated need to approve rate increases this year and quite probably in future years, we need to show a willingness to cut costs,” said the proposal.

They asked for a reversal of the 10 percent increase that had been approved Oct. 12, 2010, reverting to the $260.03 per meeting amount. They also called on staff to bring the issue of compensation for discussion in 2012 prior to any hearing in that year for potential pay changes.

Current funds are budgeted in the Board of Director’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Any increases received by board members above the amount of $100 per day may not exceed a 5 percent amount, according to California Water Code.

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