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Helix GM's Approved Raise Is a Stick in the Eye to Ratepayers

David Smyle: "Did [Lugo's] cost of living really go up nearly $6,000 in one year?"

To the editor:

[Tuesday], the Helix Water District Board on a 4-1 affirmative vote (Kathleen Hedberg the lone no vote) approved a 3.1% ($5,735) raise for the new GM Lugo only in office for one year.  This despite no significant savings to ratepayers from any of his efforts and an increase exceeding the cost of living and inflation.  Did  his cost of living really go up nearly $6,000 in one year?

Must be nice while everyday Americans struggle just to pay their increase in
social security tax.

Under GM Carlos Lugo's watch, the HWD spent $34 per plate for an employee
appreciation breakfast, yes breakfast!  Under his watch, the employee MOU
was extended early giving the ratepayers no break in employee benefit costs
which the health premiums alone are $1.6 million higher than just five years
ago and ratepayers pick up 100% of the employee and their dependents
premiums.  

Lake Jennings still loses money every year.  There were no changes in the pension formula or a new pension tier for new hires.  So what exactly did you do, Mr. Lugo, to deserve a $6,000 raise?  Your job?

Hopes were raised when long time do nothing Board Member Richard Smith was
replaced with Joel Scalzitti but what we have here is apparently another individual only interested in his own plush Board benefits also enjoyed by
the employees.  This was an early litmus test for Scalzitti to earn the
trust of the ratepayers.  You failed!

How many constituents gave their personal thumbs up to Verbeke, Scalzitti,
Muse and Linden to give the raise?  Did any of you even let your constituents know prior to the Board package coming out which most people don't get or read that you planned on giving the GM a $6,000 raise?  Did you bother to send out an email to constituents to get their pulse on this issue?  Of course not and of course holding your meetings at 2 p.m. on a weekday when everyone is working allows you to get minimal objections to your agenda.

Maybe a better solution if the Board was really thinking about the ratepayers is if they just had to give him a raise, give him a one-time bonus so his Pensionable income did not rise.

Once again, the knife got pushed into the belly of the ratepayer a little deeper and this time the Board even gave it a little twist.  You are all a walking poster for term limits.

David Smyle
La Mesa

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