Cambria CSD's general manager may get 5 percent raise

Discussion on the town's watering restrictions and the potential purchase of the Cambria Library site are also on the directors' agenda

ktanner@thetribunenews.comOctober 22, 2013 

Cambria Community Services District General Manager Jerry Gruber took a significant pay cut from the more-than $171,000 he earned as Atherton city manager when he became CCSD assistant general manager in September 2010.

COURTESY CITY OF ATHERTON

A raise for the general manager, the question of whether to lift a landscape watering restriction and the possible purchase of county property are up for discussion by Cambria Community Services District directors Thursday.

The board is expected to approve a new “evergreen” contract for General Manager Jerry Gruber, a year ahead of expiration of his previous three-year contract. The new contract adds a 5 percent raise of $7,500 to Gruber’s current $150,000 annual salary, effective retroactively to June 28, the end of the district’s prior fiscal year. The “indefinite term” contract has no end date.

In 2012, Gruber also received pension benefits, health and dental benefits, a $450-a-month vehicle allowance and other compensation for a total of $217,508.

That’s less than prior General Manager Tammy Rudock earned in fiscal year 2009-10, the last full year she worked before she was dismissed on April 29, 2011. She was paid $166,538 in earnings, $55,641 in benefits and $9,196 in employer-paid Social Security and Medicare for a total of $231,376.

Gruber was elevated to interim general manager from utilities manager, jobs for which he was paid $113,900 a year.

In June 2011, the “interim” was removed from his title of general manager and his salary went to $150,000, with a three-year contract.

Gruber would continue to serve “at will,” meaning he can be terminated at any time, subject to provisions in the previous contract.

The district, founded in 1976, provides water, wastewater, fire protection, lighting, refuse, and parks, recreation and open space services to about 6,000 residents in a 5-square-mile area.

Watering restriction

Directors will also discuss restrictions on the use of tap water for landscaping. On Sept. 20, due to the possibility there may not be enough supply left in the district’s primary aquifer and its other aquifer might be off limits because of a low monitoring well level, the district banned the use of potable water (water treated to ensure it’s safe to drink) on outdoor landscaping.

Since then, the monitoring well levels have remained high enough to allow the district to use its Santa Rosa Creek well, relieving pressure on the San Simeon Creek aquifer, which has subsequently rebounded somewhat from near-historic lows.

The water-use restrictions may have had some impact, according to Gruber’s staff report for Thursday’s meeting. He notes that the demand for the time period from when the restriction was put into place until Oct. 7 is the lowest in seven years. The data shows usage 10 percent lower this year than the average use in that same 18-day period in the prior six years, and 3 percent lower than in 2007, when surcharges were in effect to discourage water use.

Nevertheless, the staff report says “it may be premature to revise the ban” and “recommends keeping the prohibition in place until more data is available.”

Property purchase

After the open meeting, the board is scheduled to discuss with county representatives in closed session possible purchase of 900 Main St., the current site of the Cambria Library.

The library is slated to move out of its current 2,300-square-foot building into a 5,800-square-foot structure at 1043 Main St. around the end of the year.

The services district currently leases about 3,000 square feet of office space in Cambria Village Square on Tamson Drive.

Also on Thursday, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission plans to consider whether sale as surplus property of 900 Main St. in Cambria would be in accordance with the county General Plan. Another item deals with the same clearance for sale of two parcels on Cornwall Street at Hillcrest Drive purchased in 2004 as a potential library site.

Public meeting Thursday

The monthly meeting of the Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors begins at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cambria Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St. The meeting is streamed live at www.slo-span.org.

Board President Michael Thompson has moved the time for public comments about items not on the agenda; those now are to be heard near the end of the meeting.

The agenda also includes review of the end-of-year budget report for fiscal year 2012-2013.

Tribune Assistant City Editor Bert Etling contributed to this report.

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