Friday, August 22, 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

 
Chapkis Dance brings award-winning moves to Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ducks on the pond, sturgeon in the water

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

Jazz invasion Aug. 30 at performing arts center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
How I spent my summer vacation

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Small fire takes place at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
 
Housing specialist to speak before Senior Rountable

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Brown approves ‘dining with dogs’ law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Aunt of toddler killed pleads not guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
San Francisco to tally bird-into-window death toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

GPS devices find huge water loss in western US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Cops greet students at school where plot thwarted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

California plans aid to immigrant minors

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

 
California to appeal ruling tossing death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Stunt blocks traffic on Golden Gate Bridge

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

 
Bodies of 2 men found in adjacent California yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Assembly approves greater disclosure for campaigns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
No bail for woman in Amish girls’ kidnapping in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Lawyer: Utah restaurant had other chemical burn

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

 
Ice bucket challenge goes awry, firefighters hurt

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

Marathon bombing suspect’s friend pleads guilty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US judge strikes down Florida gay marriage ban

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Gov. Nixon taking National Guard out of Ferguson

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
American Ebola doc: ‘I am thrilled to be alive’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Syria opposition: Deadly chemical attack forgotten

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian aid convoy advances toward Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Israel kills 3 Hamas military commanders in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Turkey’s Davutoglu named new premier

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Thai army ruler named prime minister

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Indonesian court rejects election loser’s appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Liberia gives food in slum sealed to stop Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Foley case lays bare debate over paying ransom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Pentagon: Islamic State militants will regroup

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment | Gallery

.

Opinion

Are America’s police over-militarized and under-accountable?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

 
Young men helped me, and I thank them

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Get it straight in Ferguson

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Aug. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My whole house shakes when my new neighbors drop their barbells

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Aug. 22-28, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
The voice-overs can’t save ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B2

Review: A sweet Moretz rescues ‘If I Stay’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Emmy hopefuls play the angles to nab trophies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Seth Meyers prizes his new role as Emmycast host

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Aug. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

Julianne Hough dances back to ‘Dancing’ as judge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Jon Hamm hopes Ferguson will come out stronger

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Doctor Who’ returns with a new season on BBC America

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
Local boxers make weight and are ready to fight

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Serena Williams to face Townsend in Open 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Loose sod at new Levi’s Stadium removed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Raiders’ Woodson returning to Lambeau, faces Pack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Phelps back in international comp, advances in 100

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Tigers’ Price throws 1-hitter, loses to Rays 1-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Philly loses to Chicago in LLWS

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Ryu sets course record at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
McIlroy stumbles to 74, worst start in 2 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Cal interim AD Williams jumps into new role

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Teams test out a new helmet, but does it work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

Goalkeeper Tim Howard taking break from US team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Signups for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Big 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains a rare breed of SUV

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 298K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

United lures top fliers with promise of a hot meal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Family Dollar rejects Dollar General offer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

S&P 500 closes at a record; Hewlett-Packard gains

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ford recalling more than 160,000 vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bank of America settlement likely to benefit few

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
US housing recovery appears to be back on track

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Airline group forecasts uptick in Labor Day travel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Richard Ray Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Mary Louise Loveall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9