FREMONT (CBS SF) – A small East Bay water district is paying more than 200 of their employees, including meter readers and customer service representatives, wages and benefits worth well over $100,000, while raising customers’ rates 16 years in a row.
That data was requested by Eric Tsai of Fremont, a customer of the Alameda County Water District. Tsai, a financial analyst, filed a California public records request request and crunched the numbers to find out what employees were making.
Tsai told KPIX 5 that he found the latest rate increase isn’t going towards water prices, but labor. “It’s completely different than what they’ve been telling the public,” Tsai said in a report that aired Tuesday night.
According to Tsai’s analysis, a meter reader supervisor earned $107,493 in gross pay and a total of $166,913 including benefits. The benefits include medical, dental and vision care, along with pensions.
Five meter readers had gross pay and benefits packages in the six figure range.
Tsai’s analysis also found office assistants earning six figures in wages and benefits.
District general manager Robert Shaver had the largest compensation, at $377,000. A full list of compensation packages can be found here (.xls).
The Alameda County Water District’s board has never voted down a rate hike in 16 years, and just approved the latest hike this month.
Last year, the board did vote to spend $280,000 on a book about the agency’s history, in honor of its 100 year anniversary. The author will be paid $60,000, and he’s a former general manager.
Since the Only On 5 KPIX story aired, viewers have flooded the station’s Facebook post with comments, including Tirina Della Maggiore Barnes who writes, “Seriously? Kick some down to the teachers, people.”
Some are more supportive, like Robert Harris who writes, “People are mad at workers having a good paying job but not mad the 1% [who] have taken the bulk of the money, and do so “without” putting it back into the community.”
Russ Bridges writes, “Fire the leadership immediately and start from scratch. New contracts for all employees including revised retirement, med benefits and salary range.”