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Water District Salaries

I am simply flabbergasted by the astonishing increase in salaries awarded to its top managers by the United Water Conservation District board of directors at its February meeting.

Under the new salary structure, the general manager will be paid $139,692 per year, a whopping $33,948 increase--more than 32% over his salary in December. How many other government employees are getting a 32% raise at a time when inflation has been averaging less than 2% per year?

The deputy general manager will also now be paid $103,476 a year, up a colossal 51% over last year. Similarly, the chief financial officer, after less than a year on the job, will now be paid 50% more than last year. The next three level managers will receive raises that average more than 31%. Altogether these increases will ultimately add $203,600 to the United budget.

Let’s put this in context.

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At the same time that the United Water Board had the gall to adopt these new salaries for the top people (proposed and recommended, let us note, by the very managers who benefit from them), the board also approved a new contract covering all other employees. The total impact of all raises for all other employees was only $83,771, and the maximum possible increase over the next four years for all other employees was only $15%, barely 4% per year, and that only under worst-case assumptions.

Am I the only one who thinks this is obscenely outrageous?

When I ran last year against a member of this board, my campaign was based in part on what I described as the fiscal irresponsibility of the incumbents. In an effort to “spin control” the media and voters, United’s management staff rallied around its sugar daddy board, characterizing my statements and those of other candidates challenging the incumbents as false and unfounded. If this type of increase in management compensation does not constitute fiscal irresponsibility, I don’t know what does.

NEAL ANDREWS, Ventura

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