Cambrian: Opinion

Cambrian letters to the editor, March 2, 2017

Jerry Gruber, Cambria Community Services District general manager.
Jerry Gruber, Cambria Community Services District general manager.

Outrage over letters is lacking

Where is the outrage? What will it take to wake up Cambria ratepayers?

Recently, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board issued three Notice of Violation letters to Jerry Gruber for filing late reports and other issues (the same Jerry Gruber whose annual salary — $170,456 — was raised last year without benefit of a job performance evaluation to a level higher than that of 41 United States governors).

Were these simply “oversights” on his part? For two years? He has put Cambrians at risk of having to pay $600,000 in penalties and under threat of a cease and desist order.

Who else bears responsibility for this fiasco? Who is supposed to provide oversight of Jerry Gruber? The Board of Directors, perhaps?

Mr. Gruber’s employee agreement states in part: “Employer shall have no obligation to provide such notice, severance pay and benefits in the event Employee is terminated for good cause. For the purpose of this Agreement, “good cause” shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, any of the following: (1) A material breach of the terms of this Agreement; (2) A failure to perform his duties in a professional and responsible manner consistent with generally accepted standards of the profession; (3) Conduct unbecoming the position of General Manager or likely to bring discredit or embarrassment to the CCSD.”

Dismissing Mr. Gruber now for “good cause” will eliminate the risk of having to pay him a nine-month severance package down the road. And, if the board is not prepared to dismiss him now, a recall effort against them should be mounted.

John Bell, Cambria

Thanks for asking key question

Thank you, Sherri Bell, for publicly asking the question that I and many of the Cambrians with whom I speak ask ourselves about Cambria’s Community Services District general manager.

I think yes, yes, yes, CCSD, please terminate. Perhaps another person filling this position might even like to live in Cambria and be a functioning and visible member of the community.

I apologize to Tina Dickason for concerned Cambrians.

Leslie S. Palmer, Cambria

Expertise lacking in human resources

The CCSD board has a lot of talented and accomplished people in their respective fields, but not in the area of water generation and sewage disposal and overseeing a fire/emergency response organization or in “human resources.” Add that to a highly politicized and singularly focused agenda, and that equals our current state of affairs.

We face a $600,000 fine, we still do not know how much the water treatment plant will cost, or the costs of transporting brine to a disposal facility, or the costs of running the facility, if we do indeed get permits in the foreseeable future. The CCSD now has very limited cash. Do not forget the costs of needing a loan, then having the screws turned against us with a bank we have mortgaged everything to and has to approve all new loans.

Underlying all of the failures was the rushing of the water project to accommodate new development and help the business community. A two-year project was rammed through in six months. Doing so required the CCSD to ignore our state’s regulatory agencies, against the agencies’ requests and wishes, build a “design as you go” project (trial and error?), and take a loan on an unknown finished water-production-treatment facility from a bank that rightfully had us pledge everything the CCSD owns so that we would pay them back one way or another.

People, be careful whom you choose to represent you. This is not what my fellow Cambrians, or anyone, deserves. No amount of “spin” will change this.

Jeff Hellman, Cambria

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