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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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DSRSD drops Pay for Performance bonuses

Uploaded: Jan 15, 2012
After the Around Dublin blog attacked the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) for awarding Senior Managers bonuses up to 9.5% of their already high salaries, DSRDS is dropping the "Pay for Performance," reward program that has been a fixture of the agency since 1998.

Pay for Performance, which I and others have confused with raises, are potential annual bonuses awarded to DSRSD employees for outstanding performance during the year. The Directors vote on how much to award managers each year, but the bonuses are only paid if the District has enough reserve cash after expenses. Last year they did, and three of the five Directors voted to give bonuses to Senior Managers of up to 9.5%. This came on the heels of a rate increase, and spurred the outspoken Around Dublin Blog to post a series of articles attacking the managers as "Pigs at the Trough," and the Directors who approved the bonuses as "Deaf, Dumb, and Blind."

I have never been for this bonus program, but I also criticized Around Dublin for over reacting to them with undeserved personal attacks against the three Directors who voted for the bonuses. Around Dublin even encouraged readers to email the District to object to "Feeding the pigs," and some of their readers did.

On December 20, 2011 DSRSD approved across the board revisions on salaries and benefits for union workers, middle management, professional employees, and top management. Two remaining agreements, with Finance Director Lori Rose and General Manager, Bert Michalczyk, will be presented to the Directors for approval at their Board Meeting on January 17, 2012.

Here are some of the changes put into place from the Minutes of the December 20, 2011 meeting.

"All of the agreements include these provisions : 1) future salary increase limited to cost of living with a 0% floor; 2) annual deferred compensation match up to $2,500; 3) termination of the PFP program; 4) one time contribution to employees 457 account ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 for elimination of the PFP program early; 5) gradual but significant reduction in the amount of the 'Health Care In-Lieu' amount over the term of the contract; 6) health care premiums for all groups subject to the 60/40 employer-employee cost sharing over the 2007 base amount of $1,230 monthly; 7) elimination of retiree dental benefits for employees hired after June 30, 2014; 8) option to sell back 80 hours of employee leave bank annually; 9) employee leave bank system for all employees; 10) no unit wide salary or benefit surveys; and, 11) five year terms, with the exception of the Confidential unit which has a term of five years and four months."

The option to sell back 80 hours of vacation time from a "leave bank system," is an interesting alternative to an annual bonus. I'm interpreting this to mean an employee could skip taking his or her vacation and bank those hours. Then in the current or a future year he or she could sell back up to 80 hours from the "leave bank," at their hourly or weekly salary for that year. Eighty hours is approximately 3.8% of an annual salary.

So despite the heavy-handed tactics of Around Dublin, the outrage of residents and ratepayers has wrought changes in DSRSD's pay and employment contracts. How timely, now that three District Directors, Pat Howard, Rich Halket, (both of whom voted for the bonuses) and Dan Scannell (who voted against the bonuses) are up for reelection this year.

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