My motto is simple, vote out all the incumbents from Ironhouse Sanitary District and you see an immediate savings in benefits. Voters can un-elect Michael Painter and reject Tom Williams’s appointment of David Contreras tomorrow and begin putting directors on a much lower benefits tier which will reduce the districts burden on the ratepayers.
If re-elected, Michael Painter and David Contreras are eligible to receive benefits of up to $1,588 per month because the Board was more interested din protecting their own benefits and doing the right thing on behalf of ratepayers. They proceeded to make the change for new Directors who are on a tier that limits their benefits to around $625-650 a month. You see, by voting out incumbents, you are saving at least $1,000 per month per director.
Simply put. stipend and benefits reform are needed at Ironhouse because these benefits are excessive for part-time position . For example, between 2007 to 2011, Doug Hardcastle racked up $94,888.60 in stipends and benefits. Michael Painter received $124,815. Both men now receive lifetime medical. These excessive benefits need to stop.
With that said, there is many other reasons why Michael Painter should be rejected and given his pink slip by voters.
Annual Operations Budget has increased
In a down economy, Ironhouse Sanitary District has not been fiscally responsible, they have actually increased their burden on ratepayers by increasing their operational budget. The annual budget jumped from $7 million in 2010 to $12.3 million for fiscal year 2012-2013. While Painter can claim he is saving ratepayers money, the truth is he isn’t saving anything. He has helped spend millions more in a bad economy without implementing furloughs, layoffs, or other cost saving measures. Instead of cost saving measures, Ironhouse gave pay increases to its employees. To put this in perspective, the City of Oakley has implemented 20+ furlough days to reduce the burden on the taxpayer.
Annual Rate Increases since 1999
Michael Painter has on his campaign signs he is for lower rates which is a flat out lie and I hope voters are not fooled. During his 12 years on the Board, rates have increased by 250% while going up each and every year.
In 1999, rates were just $249. Today, we are paying $618. So much for lowering rates! They have gone up every year and will likely continue to increase due to the leadership failing to make the difficult decisions to reduce the burden on the ratepayer.
According to Mr. Painters 2000 SmartVoter page, he ran on a priority to lower fees which he’s done the opposite. In fact, since 2000, he’s failed on all three of his priorities.
In reviewing his Time Sheet since 2001, Painter should repay $23,800 to the District. Just to name a few, Painter has charged ratepayers to attend grand openings, teleconference calls, set-up/take town of Almond Festival, attending creek cleanups, attending non-profit meetings, and newsletters. He is also going around claiming he helps with the Delta Science Center, but he does not tell people he is paid to do that—39 meetings at $6,630.
What Painter has managed to claim over the years is disrespectful to ratepayers. Shame on management for approving the stipends which they are partly to blame. Due to Painters actions, reform and an audit are needed to review director stipends and further define what should and should not be claimed. Here is his Time Sheet.
If voters want productive change, they should vote for myself (Michael Burkholder) and Aaron Meadows. For the third vote, you are picking between a personal relationship in David Contreras with Tom Williams or Doug Scheer who has ran the Chamber into the ground. Neither are ideal as its like flipping a coin.
Either way the votes come out tomorrow, anyone but Painter at this point would be an upgrade given his history of ripping off the ratepayers while collecting a nice chunk of change.