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Ironhouse: Contreras Compensation Statement Proven False

Yesterday I shared my recap of the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board Meeting and how appointed (not elected) Board Member David Contreras made the statement that the Board needs to be compensated to encourage people to run for the District so they did not have to appoint people. This was a false statement as an appointments is very different than running unopposed.

The fact that Mr. Contreras would make this claims tells me one thing, he is there for the perks of the job and wants those Board perks protected going forward for his own personal benefit rather than reducing the burden on the ratepayers. The  excessive stipends and benefits that Contreras claims as  necessary to bring qualified candidates is untrue because the opposite is true!  By paying stipends, you are bringing the wrong people to serve and  that holds true at Ironhouse in some cases.

Taking Director Doug Hardcastles argument from the other night, which is one I’ve used in the past, is if a new director was never offered a benefit, they won’t miss what they never had. He is correct.  If a new director never was offered benefits when taking office, is the new director really losing compensation or a benefit? The answer is no because I am running refusing to take the medical, dental, vision that is offered.

So this talk about compensation of $650+ in medical benefits being lost or reduced is skewed because I am an example of how untrue Mr. Contreras statement really is. Even more bizarre is Mr. Conteras doesn’t even accept the benefits himself but believes other should be entitled to it at the expense of the ratepayer. The truth is, the  Directors are already being over compensated more than enough with the $170 per meeting which allows them to max out at $1,020 per month. This is more than double the Oakley City Council compensation.

But let’s apply Mr. Contreras thinking to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District who have 9 Directors who are not getting any compensation at all and they have a much larger service area than Ironhouse–minus the FEMA Grant, the budgets are very similar.

You have Directors Bob Kenny, Cheryl Morgan,  Kevin Bouillon and Ronald Johansen (Jonathan Michaelson is scheduled to replace Romick on April 1.) who are not elected officials now serving on the Board–they applied knowing there are no benefits which disproves Mr. Contereas claim.  One could make the argument that if the ECCFPD budget was not an issue, these directors should be at the very worst, on the same pay scale as Ironhouse Directors due to their responsibility to the public. Instead, they are not paid for meetings, not paid benefits such as medical, dental, and vision or meal reimbursements.

To further disprove Mr. Contreras claim, knowing their is no pay or benefits for this Board, the City of Oakley had 9-candidates apply for its three seats that were open . From what I am hearing in Brentwood, they are expecting double digit applications for a board position that pays absolutely nothing.

So as you can see, Mr. Contreras did not make an accurate statement at the Ironhouse Meeting.  As John Adams once said,  “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Having gone back to the last six elections on SmartVoter, they have had a field of candidate run where they have not had to make an appointment other than the one due to the passing of Director Don S. Lew.  Some of the elections have had candidates run unopposed, but they have always been able to have a full field of candidates run.

2012 (3 to be elected)

  • Michael W. Burkholder
  • Doug Scheer
  • Aaron Meadows
  • David Contreras
  • Michael J. Painter

2010 (2 Elected)

  • David Huerta
  • Chris Lauritzen
  • Lenny Byer
  • Mark S. Gagliardi
  • Dale E. Smith

2008 (3 Elected)

  • Don S. Lew
  • Michael J. Painter
  • Doug Hardcastle

2004 (3 Elected)

  • Don S. Lew
  • Michael J. Painter
  • Doug Hardcastle

2002 (2 Elected)

  • Lenny Byer
  • William Trice
  • Wendy L. Robertson

2000 (3 Elected)

  • Doug Hardcastle
  • Don S. Lew
  • Michael Painter
  • Dwight Meadows
  • David Mickelson
  • Richard Kirkman
  • Ron Paris

Ultimately, one should run of public office to serve the public, not to collect an excessive paycheck and benefits! Ultimately, Mr. Contreras is using poor justification to continue an abuse on he ratepayers by providing new Directors with excessive benefits.

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3 Responses »

  1. Well done! With statements like this, I believe ratepayers can eliminate Contreras come November Had Burk not gone to the meeting, no one would even know this is the arrogance of the Board.

  2. People don’t run for it because very few people even know what it is or what it does as its hhidden in your property tax bill. If people knew the benefits, Mr. Contreras needs to go! Vote out all incumbants so ratepayers can start paying directors on the lower tier.

  3. Well done Mike. Mr. Contreras and Mr. Huerta should issue apologies for their smug attitude towards ratepayers. Based on your article yesterday, I think its not out of the question for ratepayers to request a public apology while choosing not to re-elect Contreras!

    I think your comparison of ECCFPD vs. Ironhouse is a classic example of the board not thinking things through before making a stupid comment about incentives to run for an office. Why is the Contra Costa Times or Brentwood Press not covering this meeting, seems like what goes on there is a good way to sell newspapers!

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