Water District Board to Consider Staff Cuts

After weeks of discussion, the board of directors of the Mesa Consolidated Water District may vote today on a proposal to reduce the size of its management staff.

District General Manager Karl Kemp has proposed eliminating three of the seven department managers' jobs.

But critics of the district and board members have pointed out that two water district managers have resigned in recent months and they have not been replaced, so in effect only one position is being eliminated.

District Engineer Gene Watson announced his resignation in early December to pursue a consulting practice in Northern California. Two weeks later, District Secretary Michelle Jackson resigned.

"I think we are too top-heavy," said Trudy Ohlig, president of the board of directors. "Naturally, I can't talk for everybody on the board, but I still don't like it."

At a recent meeting of the board, members of the Coalition for Clean Water-Costa Mesa, a citizens watchdog group, asked the district to reduce the management staff to two and to consider reducing the salaries of those two.

Kemp said that his plan will save the district about $80,000 a year.

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