SCV Water board considers compensation increase 

SCV Water logo
SCV Water Agency logo. Courtesy

For the first time in three years, members of the governing board for the SCV Water Agency approved an increase to their per-meeting fee Tuesday. 

The board voted 5-3 to approve a 6.7% hike, increasing the rate each member is to receive for attending a meeting by $16 for a total of $255 per meeting. 

The maximum allowable under the state’s Water Code would be 10% — a 5% hike for each of the last two fiscal years, which would move the rate to $23.90, for a total of $262.90 per meeting, according to the board’s agenda. 

The nay votes included Kathye Armitage, Ed Colley and Ken Petersen. Director Beth Braunstein was absent. 

Board members last approved a 5% rate increase in December 2020, which increased their per-meeting compensation from about $228 to $239. 

The board also considered relative pay for other water boards throughout the state, which reflected a range from $200 per meeting for Three Valley’s Municipal Water District, which covers 133 miles and serves the San Gabriel Valley, to $406 per meeting for the Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs. 

The governing board approved a compensation policy in March 2022, which codified the limitations on the board’s monthly compensation level to 10 meetings per month.  

Board members also are allowed to receive compensation for the attendance of a number of water-related conferences and travel outside of the district, but not necessarily for travel within the district’s borders. 

An ordinance on the pay increase released by SCV Water ahead of the meeting notes the agency is allowed to increase its meeting compensation rate by up to 5% each year. 

Directors also are “entitled to receive reimbursement for the reasonable cost of meals, including tips, not to exceed $150 per person per day,” according to the policy. 

The details of the policy also include guidelines for tipping when SCV Water directors are dining on the agency’s dime: 

“Restaurant and food service providers have varying policies concerning tips. Some providers include tips in the food cost. Others provide a customer selection of tip percentages. …  It is the policy of the Agency that tips should be generally 15% to 20% of the cost of food depending on service and/or restaurant policy for larger group tables.”  

Due to the various stipulations in the agency’s compensation policy, the pay varies for the various members. 

For the current calendar year, the totals through November 2023 are as follows: Kathye Armitage – $14,579; Beth Braunstein – $9,799; Ed Colley – $8,843; Bill Cooper — $22,705;  

Maria Gutzeit – $17,925; Dirk Marks – $16,969; Gary Martin – $25,095; Piotr Orzechowski – $17,686; and Ken Petersen – $12,428, for a total of $146,029 for all members. 

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