For those of you who are unaware, every time an Ironhouse Sanitary District Director attends an Oakley City Council Meeting, they are paid $170 per meeting. This is not appropriate to spend ratepayer money like this and going forward this should be amended and stopped immediately.
In reviewing time sheets, I found City Council Candidate and Ironhouse Director Doug Hardcastle had claimed 101 of these meetings during his tenure ($170 x 101 = $17,179) . To make matters more confusing, the City Council from time to time has a liaison who attends Ironhouse meetings which most recently was Councilman Randy Pope who ultimately withdrew from the position in May and now we have Oakley resident Susan Morgan donating her time to fill the position.
If Pope and Morgan are supposed to be attending Ironhouse and City Council Meetings, then why is a Director still claiming the stipend? It makes little logical sense other than to put it bluntly to fluff a paycheck. The truth is, there is the meeting agenda which is by far more detailed than the actual meeting along with the minutes.
The caveat in this, however, is unless Ironhouse is on the City Council Agenda then it may be appropriate to accept a stipend and it will be up to the director to claim it or not–if elected, I for one would not because I consider that part of the job as a Director to inform your council of Ironhouse matters. I would hope others elected would feel the same way.
One solution is put the liaison for the City Council in a duel role (upon negotiations with Ironhouse and the Council) to report to both the Council and Ironhouse and save ratepayers the $170 per meeting. The other route is find a “volunteer” to fill the role Susan Morgan has done but reverse the role to attend City Council meetings and report back–but the Council already puts out minutes. The point is, this doesn’t have to cost ratepayers anything if they get creative.
Of course, this is just one of many meeting stipends that need to be reformed and better defined as to what stipends can be claimed or not claimed. But this one is the first that should be eliminated from future claims followed by check signings with no questions asked.
The next issue is whether or not the Directors with these claims should have to repay the ratepayers. While I believe that may be the appropriate thing to do, that is up to legal to decide.
Its time for the Board to become more responsible in their stipend claims and eliminating the council and check signing stipend claims would be a good start.