A permanent board seat for Triunfo Sanitation District (Triunfo) on the Ventura Regional Sanitation District (VRSD) board…yawn, who cares? The answer is, I do, and here is why, I think it is important, as a Triunfo* board member.
The basic reason is, so that Triunfo can keep costs down as much as possible! Triunfo’s direct management and labor costs** come from VRSD, yet we have no direct say on their policies ( unless it is the 1 year in 6 that Triunfo sits in VRSD’s rotating special district seat, which I am doing now).
VRSD supplies all the work for Triunfo on contract, because we have no employees. Most similar water and/or wastewater agencies have their own employees and their boards can directly make decisions and evaluate management. We on the Triunfo board cannot, and this means we are dependent on the VRSD board for this.
Here are 2 examples of actions taken by the VRSD board in 2011 that had a direct effect on Triunfo. The hourly rates for all the different job categories are set yearly, in the spring. The rates can change quite radically, and can hugely affect the Triunfo budget for the next year. Do we get a say in those rates? No…only the VRSD board does. What other agency board do you know that has no say on the pay for employees?
Another big change in 2011, was the decision of the board to go along with a request from the General Manager, to lay off six employees, due to VRSD losing money. That may have been necessary for VRSD’s budget, but was it good for Triunfo? Does VRSD still have a depth of staff that can get Triunfo’s work done in a timely manner? (This is not meant to be critical in any way about the fine staff members that work for Triunfo now, including Acting General Manager Doug Anders and others.) The question is: Are there are enough employees?
Looking at these examples, it makes good sense for Triunfo to have a permanent representative on Ventura Regional’s board. Also, Triunfo provides VRSD with an income of over $3 million a year for contract work, which is a lot more than any other agency or city does.
In the July meeting, the Triunfo board approved a letter to go to the VRSD board, requesting a permanent seat, which should be considered at a VRSD meeting in September. Stay tuned for VRSD’s response.
Editor: This post is also presented on www.OakParkUpdate.com
*Triunfo serves over 30,000 people in east Ventura County, with wastewater collection and treatment. The district also owns Oak Park Water Service and supplies potable water to over 14,000.
**Triunfo is also in a partnership with Las Virgenes Municipal Water District to treat wastewater and manufacture recycled water, and we pay the partnership to do that.