A group of outraged ratepayers plan to gather at the district's board meeting Wednesday to speak out against a new proposed pension plan for Otay employees. The ratepayers will meet at 3 p.m., a half-hour before the board meeting begins.
The plan calls for employees to forgo annual cost of living increases, and will instead fund their pension plan. Otay Water District employees currently pay only 1 percent of their annual pension costs.
The new plan also calls for employees to have the chance to "work toward the enhanced retiree health care benefits," which will cover them for life. Employees (and their dependents) would be able to receive these health care benefits upon 20 years with OWD, and would be eligible to retire at age 55, much earlier than the 65 (or often later) that is required in the private sector.
“We have seen it too many times—people not thinking about their future and suffering in the end. Many of the employees don’t want that for their families. They want to look toward tomorrow and make sure they have medical care after they retire,” said Patrick Newman, president of the Employees’ Association.
The district defends the move as saving almost $75,000 per year, but as Voice of San Diego's Rob Davis points out, those savings won't take effect until 2018.
Ratepayers will feel the brunt of a 7.7 percent water rate increase, which was approved in June, starting in January 2012. Additionally, district General Manager Mark Watton has been under fire recently, as it was reported that he has a salary of more than $300,000, which includes a staggering 71 paid vacation days. That's right folks, that equates to three-and-a-half months of vacation time for Watton.