Viewpoint

CCSD salaries out of line with comparable districts

March 13, 2014 

The current Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors continue to exhibit financial irresponsibility of the highest order.

According to the Feb. 27 Cambrian, our water rates will likely be increased soon.

The reason for this is not quite as the CCSD would have us believe. All of us are well aware of the salary and benefits ($450/month car allowance!) to the tune of $217,508 paid to our general manager — a lot of money and very near the top salary paid to any other civil servant in the County of San Luis Obispo, all for a community of only 6,000 inhabitants.

To put this into perspective, the Los Osos CSD pays their general manager $119,774 and their population is 14,276. Nipomo’s (population 12,714) CSD pays $138,182 and Templeton (population 7,674) pays $135,000.

The salary scale for the rest of the CCSD staff is similarly bloated. They refused to give salary information to this writer while other CSDs had no problem giving me what they considered public information so all of their numbers below are current. Every services district in California is required to report salaries to the State. Their web site, http://publicpay.ca.gov lists Cambria in 2011. Apparently, they saw reason not to comply with State requirements since then but it would be safe to assume their numbers are even higher today than 2011.

Our CSD's finance manager made $111,375 while Nipomo pays $98,772. Templeton gets $76,024 and Oceano pays their person $63,889. The CCSD’s water supervisor was paid $90,508. Los Osos pays $80,927. Nipomo $63,442, Templeton $90,147. Our district clerk made $87,056 while Los Osos gets $63,879. Nipomo pays $49,603. The waste water operator in Cambria made $77,228 while Nipomo pays $36,817. The waste operator II made $75,096 while Nipomo gets $44,439.

In the examples above the CSDs not listed don’t have equivalent positions to compare salaries, but our CSD lists at least five handsomely paid jobs not found in any other community services district.

Across the board the CCSD is, shall we say, fat?

Which begs the question. Who was responsible for checking the water tank that suffered water loss on two separate occasions that cost Cambria's ratepayers 433,000 gallons? Who was overseeing the guy who was supposed to notice water gushing from this tank?

But further on the subject of financial irresponsibility. The Cambrian on March 6 reported that the CCSD has hired a public relations person to essentially put a favorable spin on the board’s ineptitude. He is to be paid $100 an hour to a maximum of $10,000! Any one betting this amount is spent in no time with a request for more? If this action by the board wasn't so outrageous it might have been hilarious.

And last, but certainly not least is the CCSD's decision to pay $44,000 for a “rate study.” Another useless study, unbelievable.

It should be obvious to all that the Board of Directors of the Cambria Community Services District controls plenty of money already — enough it seems to throw it away.

Dennis Ortenburger is a resident of Cambria.

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