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Mesa Water board members increase their meeting pay by 10%

Mesa Water board members increase their meeting pay by 10%
Mesa Water District board members voted this week to increase their own pay by 10% to $264 per meeting. (Courtesy Mesa Water District)

With no discussion Thursday, Mesa Water District board members boosted their own pay by 10% to $264 per meeting.

The board approved the increase on a 3-2 vote, with President Ethan Temianka and Vice President Jim Atkinson opposed. The higher rate of pay will go into effect July 1.

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None of the district's five board members discussed their votes during the meeting, and no one from the public addressed the proposal.

On Friday, Temianka said he voted against the increase because "although our board's workload continues to increase, I feel that our compensation is adequate."

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In an email Friday morning, board member James Fisler wrote that he believes the increase "is fair for the directors and the public we serve" and estimated that the time he spends dedicated to district business has almost doubled from when he first joined the board in 2009.

"In five of my seven years on the board, I voted no on a stipend increase," he wrote. "The workload on the directors has increased immensely from seven years ago — we all serve on many more committees and commissions to protect ratepayer interests."

Compensation had been set at $240 per meeting since July 2015. Members made $207 per meeting from January 2009 to July 2015.

State law allows members to boost their pay by up to 5% per year.

By comparison, board members in the Moulton Niguel and Santa Margarita Water districts receive $220 and $210, respectively. Irvine Ranch Water District pays $260.

Mesa board members can be paid for attending regular district meetings "or for each day's service rendered as a director by request of, or with the authorization of, the board of directors," according to the ordinance approving the pay increase.

The number of days for which board members can be paid is capped at 10 per month.

Board members cannot be paid more than once per day — even if they attend multiple meetings — and also don't receive compensation from Mesa Water if another agency or entity is already paying them to attend a specific meeting.

Twitter @LukeMMoney

UPDATES:

2:20 p.m.: This article was updated with comment from Mesa Water District board President Ethan Temianka.

This article was originally published at 1:45 p.m.

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