At the expense of the rate payer, the Ironhouse Sanitary District has flourished for many years and has been relatively unaffected. While a majority of agencies, cities, and special districts in Contra Costa County have had to tighten their belts, Ironhouse has continued it’s business as usual attitude by building a brand new facility while ensuring pay increases to staff that coincide with annual rate increases.
Most people don’t know this, but since 1999, ratepayers serviced by Ironhouse Sanitary District have received rate increases each and every year which has ballooned to $618 while Oakley/Bethel Island pay the highest rates in the area which are only scene on your property tax bill.
Before I go a step further, this is no reflection of ISD staff who have been very kind to me and our a joy to speak with, but rather its a reflection on the arrogance of the ISD Board and executive director Tom Williams who had ignored many of my questions and concerns for months before my recent request.
You essentially have 5 directors making a decision for roughly 35,000 people to increase your rates. Compare that to East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District who needed additional revenue and had to go for a $197 parcel tax which ultimately closed 3 stations (5 over the last few years) because the revenue was not there. They also had to layoff firefighters.
The City of Oakley has not been immune to this economy either. The employees of the City take around 20 furlough days each year to reduce cost on the taxpayers. In contrast, Ironhouse has simply raised rates to avoid pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs while instead giving salary increases.
I have the document that proves this. While I can go back to fiscal year 1999/2000 to make the point, i can simply go back to the 2008 election and you get an idea of what has transpired–excluding hourly staff.
- Fiscal Year 2008/2009: all 31 employees received a pay raise.
- Fiscal Year 2009/2010: 31 of 32 employes received pay raises
- Fiscal Year 2010/2011: 9 of 31 employees received pay raises
- Fiscal Year 2011/2012: 31 of 34 employees received pay raises
- Fiscal Year 2011/2012: 31 of 34 employees received pay raises (listed twice–might mean 2012/2013)
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am opposed to pay raises for employees, but if you are going to raise rates each year, one would think this would occur only after salary reductions, furloughs, and in a worst case scenario job layoffs which in tough economic times nearly every other agency or district in Contra Costa County has dealt with what Ironhouse has avoided.
In speaking with Executive Director Tom Williams, avoiding layoffs to improve staff moral by giving pay raises (confirmed by multiple other sources) was the big reason for the board approving the most recent rate increase from $592 to $618.
My Request to ISD:
Records reflecting pay raises or new positions created for Ironhouse Sanitary District employees, if any from 2000 to present.
I was supplied the following document by executive Director Tom Williams: Request 11
Tidbits from the document.
- It does not provide annual salary as it’s broken down by monthly pay. Meaning, there is a lot of math to do in order to find out the actual annual salary by year for each employee–it also does not show staff positions.
- It does not provide any benefits/retirement figures, only salary and any increase.
- Dave Bauer final year $108,216 in 2004/2005 when he retired as General Manager. Tom Williams took over in 2005/2006 and received a bump in pay from $94,800 to a whopping $135,000. Today, he makes $153,456--remember, these figures do not include benefits.
- 3 seats are up for election this year (Contreras/Hardcastle/Painter)
- Doug Hardcastle is currently President of the ISD Board and he is running for Oakley City Council. Since 1999/2000, rates at ISD have increased every year on a board he has served on. You can see by viewing the document the pay increases of staff that have also occurred during his time on the Board.
- You can put Michael Painter in this same category as Hardcastle except he is re-running for the ISD Board.
- David Contreras was never elected to the ISD Board, he was appointed by executive director Tom Williams on June 7, 2011. During his short time, there have been two rate increases while much of the staff has received pay increases.