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FPUD increases board, employees' compensation

The Fallbrook Public Utilities District (FPUD) board of directors agreed to approve an amendment to certain administrative code sections to reflect an increase in the board directors’ compensation, as well as approve amendments to the administrative code to ratify the wages and benefits of district employees and management during the Dec. 15 board meeting.

The board of directors agreed to update their compensation pursuant to Ordinance No. 327 to increase the per diem compensation from $40 to $100 for each meeting and to include a 5% cost of living increase beginning January 2011.

According to the agenda for the meeting, FPUD directors “shall receive per diem compensation of one hundred dollars for each meeting of the board in accordance with actions of prior boards to be implemented at the first meeting in January 2010. Said meetings shall include regular, special and adjourned meetings of the board, and standing committee meetings.”

According to FPUD general manager Keith Lewinger, the board’s action at the Monday meeting was simply modifying administrative code to reflect a decision made at least six months ago.

“Last year, the FPUD board was the lowest compensated water board in the county,” said Lewinger. “We were presented with the fact that a majority of the county’s water boards receive a per diem pay in excess of $150 for meeting attendance.”

Compensation for attendance and reimbursement for expenses at other occasions, events or meetings related to district meetings related to district business, shall be determined by the board of directors in advance on a case-by-case basis.

According to the meeting agenda, FPUD directors will be compensated for attending the following board meetings: The Association of California Water Agencies meetings (semi-annual), the Water Agencies Association of San Diego County meetings (quarterly), California Special District Association, San Diego chapter meetings (quarterly), Council of Water Utilities meetings (monthly), California Association of Sanitation Agencies meetings (semi-annual), and Economic Study Group meetings (monthly).

The board also agreed to amend several personnel regulations and civil service rules, which would adjust the wages and benefits of FPUD employees for a period of two years, beginning July 1, 2009, and ending June 30, 2011.

FPUD will also create a tuition reimbursement pool with a total annual amount of $2,000 for employees who wish to take approved job-related courses.

“Employees explained that this could benefit the district if an employee decided to further their education in an area that would be for their job,” explained Lewinger. “The amount of $2,000 will be a pool for all employees. If all of my employees applied, they would each get approximately $25. However, if ten employees apply for the reimbursement, they would each get a couple hundred dollars.”

Employees who apply for the reimbursement will not automatically receive compensation for their education, said Lewinger.

“There is no guarantee employees will have all or part of their tuition paid,” he stated. “The classes must be pertinent to their jobs, and the employees must receive a certain grade.”

One of the changes made included a 2.5 percent increase in pay for employees who are certified crane operators, engineering technicians and the GIS specialist who is a licensed land surveyor once they achieve the target range for their classification.

“This was a part of negotiations between the board and employees in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOA),” said Lewinger.

The MOA also included on call guidelines and compensation adjustments. According to the agenda, when an off-duty employee is called to physically report to duty, he will be compensated for a minimum of two hours in addition to the daily amount of $35 or $50 for Saturdays, Sundays and district holidays. The previous compensation had been $20.

“Employees had shown data stating that the $20 compensation was low,” explained Lewinger. “The compensation was upped to be comparable to what other agencies pay ‘on call’ employees.”

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