Sunday, December 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Sewer district gives mixed response to grand jury

By
From page A1 | July 23, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — A majority of Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District board members disagree with the grand jury’s recommendation that they impose a limit on how many of them attend out-of-town conferences.

But they agreed with the grand jury that they should submit written reports after the conferences. Those reports would get attached to meeting minutes.

The grand jury in a May report said having multiple board members attend out-of-town California Association of Sanitation Agencies conferences costs too much. Plus, board members who go to the conferences fail to adequately share what information they learn with the public, the report said.

The sewer district board tried to pass a response that disagreed with the grand jury report in June, but several members were absent and the board failed to muster the necessary six votes. It tried again Monday and this time passed a revised response Monday on a 7-0 vote. The board consists of the Suisun City and Fairfield city councils.

Voting in favor of the response were Fairfield Mayor Harry Price and Fairfield City Councilman Rick Vaccaro and Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez and Suisun City Council members Mike Hudson, Mike Segala, Jane Day and Lori Wilson. Fairfield City Council members Pam Bertani, Catherine Moy and John Mraz were absent.

From 2010 through 2012, nine sewer district board members attended at least some of the conferences in Palm Desert, Napa, San Diego, Sacramento, Newport Beach, Monterey and Washington, D.C., for a total cost of $97,000. For example, seven board members went to the 2011 Palm Desert conference. Five went to the 2012 Palm Desert conference. Six went to the 2011 San Diego conference.

In addition, nine staff members attended conferences at a total cost of $38,000, the grand jury report said. Board meeting minutes indicate board members only sporadically reported on what they learned at these conferences, it said.

The sewer district board disagreed with the grand jury recommendation to limit the number of board members who attend conferences and to rotate which members get to go.

“The Board of Directors believes that an engaged and educated board will make better decisions that result in lower costs to the district’s ratepayers,” the response said.

Sanchez suggested a limit of five members attending any one conference. The idea quickly died among such questions as how to tell certain board members they couldn’t go and whether too high a limit might not be meaningful.

The board agreed with Sanchez’s suggestion to change the original proposed district response and instead agree to develop a policy to require written conference reports.

“I have no problem with that,” Sanchez said. “I already do that anyway. Why should I sign off on a response that says it won’t be implemented?”

The discussion then centered on how in-depth these reports might have to be, though that will be decided at a future date.

“It’s as simple as whatever seminar you go to, you write a brief summary of it,” Vaccaro said.

Hudson said he wants to focus on whatever he finds most valuable at a conference.

The grand jury also recommended that the sewer district eliminate the health care benefit reimbursement provided to board members by the district’s medical/dental/vision program. That would save taxpayers money, it said.

The response passed by the board called the recommendation neither warranted nor reasonable. The average annual cost for the past three years for the program is $22,348, or $2,235 per board member per year. This is small relative to other forms of health care or other benefits available to public officials, it said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • S KJuly 23, 2013 - 7:19 am

    What's the point of having a Grand Jury, if the subjects of a Grand Jury have the option of not following the outcome? The results ought to be MANDATORY IMO. But what do I know?? I'm just a guy with more common sense than any politician on Earth :-)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 23, 2013 - 12:48 pm

    Unless dealing with a criminal matter, the grand jury only has as much clout as it can generate through exposure of issues to the sunshine. That's as it should be. We don't want the grand jury to be a super-regional government.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KJuly 23, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    Yeah, I guess that would be a bad idea. We already have enough Pit Bulls in Government, wasting PPL's money

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensJuly 23, 2013 - 7:55 am

    None of the entities discussed here are on the citizen's and taxpayer's side---the grand jury's not that grand and is very much like an old toothless dog that won't hunt. The sewer plant is gold plated and wastes the ratepayer's money with junkets, excessive top heavy administration, excessive salaries and benefits. Your citizens get their water/sewer bills, curse, but then lift not a finger or utter a word in public protest against same. Pathetic!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895July 23, 2013 - 12:43 pm

    Rich: Where do you pay your bills these days? You make it sound like you're out of the area.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MarkJuly 23, 2013 - 11:21 am

    all of the sewer board members already get, or can get, health care through their city council positions. Must be nice to be able to double dip health care, when a lot of the people they represent either have no health care or have their health care premiums going up. $22,348 isn't going to break the bank of the sewer district but if they actually started cutting $20k here and $10 there and so on it could amount to some significant savings. But the board doesn't want to stop lining their own pockets.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KJuly 23, 2013 - 12:32 pm

    I agree they all already have coverage elsewhere. Remember this all Folks come election time. Let's all be Johnny on the Spot and bring this up again, AT THAT TIME!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895July 23, 2013 - 12:45 pm

    I don't think they get double coverage. They have to pick one.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
New circulation director for Daily Republic has California roots

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Suisun’s transformation launched 25 years ago

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Kwanzaa educates, celebrates African-American heritage

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
AARP tax program seeks volunteers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Holiday shopping continues after Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Rush Ranch plans birds of prey workshop

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Winter feeding of backyard birds

By Launa Herrmann | From Page: C4, 1 Comment

 
Weather for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
Projects to watch in 2015

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

Market predictions for 2015

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
County graduates complete basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Dec. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

Shoppers brawl inside Northern California mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 7 Comments

 
Death penalty states unmoved by botched execution

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Arizona police officer, suspect killed in shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Protester in St. Louis area charged with arson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Spokesman: George H.W. Bush remains in hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
2 small planes collide in Maryland; no injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Lava creeps 15 yards closer to Hawaii marketplace

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
NYC officer mourned at funeral as tensions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

School error takes money from staff bank accounts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Drought, plastic bags prompt new California laws

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Final goodbye: Roll call of some who died in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Families take future war dogs into homes as foster pups

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Woman uses quilt to help those in military

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

Del. WWII vet honored with medals 70 years later

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Snow, ice sweep Europe, stranding drivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
Pilot recalls last flight to Cyprus airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Wanted extremist leader surrenders in Somalia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Putin’s epic annual news conference, condensed

By Ishaan Tharoor | From Page: A8

 
Leaders fan flames of racial hatred

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 52 Comments

 
Sound Off: Dec. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8

Redrawn districts made for some tight races

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Why do we celebrate Christmas, part two

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Comforting immigrants is nun’s mission

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Pope’s role in Cuba deal fractures Cuban-American flock

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Bethel Community Church buys Temple Baptist site

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

My son’s cat is being neglected and I don’t know what to do

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Company loses bid for rights to Marvel superheroes

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Jonah Lehrer working on book about digital life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Blagojevich brother: I was fed ‘pawn’ to get then-governor

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Vanden’s Koss named 2014 DR Male Athlete of the Year

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Broncos see a much better Raiders team this time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cardinals have hopes of division crown, 12 wins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors shake off skid, beat Timberwolves 110-97

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

No. 1 Kentucky holds off No. 4 Louisville 58-50

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Cousins leads Kings past Knicks 135-129 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anze Kopitar leads LA Kings past Sharks, 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sam: Coming out was right thing to do

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vikings stadium builders work on career highlight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Devils replace DeBoer with 3-headed coaching staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Authorities question Cubs’ Castro after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Browns suspend receiver Josh Gordon, Manziel late

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sports deaths: elegant Tony Gwynn, Jean Beliveau

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Kessler leads No. 24 USC to 45-42 win over Huskers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Jameis, Marcus and Mickey: Rose Bowl week starts at Disney

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Bowling report for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

First Step seeks players, help for 2015 season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Devil Dawgs retiring after run of success

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Virginia Tech beats Cincy 33-17 in Military Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
S Carolina tops Miami 24-21 in Independence Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Arizona State beats Duke 36-31 in Sun Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Penn State tops Boston College 31-30 in OT in Pinstripe Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

 
Top business stories of 2014: US grows, world slows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

BP appeals rejection of removing spill claims head

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
6 US cities: Good jobs but hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

Why areas with good jobs have hard-to-afford homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

 
US company to open tuna cannery in American Samoa

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12, 1 Comment

Ruling opens door for cruise malpractice lawsuits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Judy Zamora Rogers

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Concordia Albang Lichauco

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Frances Cruz Pangelinan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Oriole Ernestine Cohen

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

John Benjamin Calvin Adams

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Rae Jean Malveaux

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
.

Secrets of Success 2014

120 Years: Fentons still a treat after all this time

By Susan Winlow | From Page: SOS2, 1 Comment | Gallery

80 Years: Gillespie’s adapts to meet customer needs, thrives

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS5 | Gallery

60 Years: Ryan’s Automotive hits milestone of service

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS6, 1 Comment | Gallery

55 Years: Mary’s Pizza Shack keeps dishing the pies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

50 Years: Cal Yee Farms marks half-century – and counting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS7 | Gallery

40 Years: Floors To Go weathers recession, bounces back strong

By Ian Thompson | From Page: SOS8 | Gallery

40 Years: Vaca Valley Auto Parts a Fairfield mainstay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS9 | Gallery

35 Years: Scandia Family Fun Center roots run deep

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Vogelpohl prides herself as problem solver

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

35 Years: Medic Ambulance rolling strong

By Barry Eberling | From Page: SOS10 | Gallery

30 Years: Sportabout all about tennis – and shoes of all sorts

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

30 Years: North Bay Pediatrics serves children, parents

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

35 Years: More than 1,700 home sales – and counting – for Watson

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: SOS11 | Gallery

25 Years: It’s always showtime for Fairfield’s Finger

By Tony Wade | From Page: SOS12 | Gallery

25 Years: Feins helps build memories through Air Land & Sea Travel

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS13 | Gallery

20 Years: Quality breeds success for Universal Painting

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: SOS14 | Gallery

10 Years: By the People helps with basic, complex legal issues

By Susan Hiland | From Page: SOS15 | Gallery