VOM’s ‘bullet proof’ solution full of holes
EDITOR: Jon Foreman, current President of the Valley of the Moon Water Board, and an incumbent in the upcoming election, has written a letter to the editor (“Flyer Beware,” Oct. 5) that a flyer that I am distributing in the voting area has errors. He is wrong and I would like to set the record straight. In my brochure I state that the Board voted a massive increase in the salary budget. They did. Jon states he is “not sure where Steve came up with 22.8 percent increase, the total average of all the raises … was in the 9 percent range.” Jon misunderstood my statement. The 22.8 percent increase comes from the approved budget that can be found on the VOMWD web site. If you add in the transfers to capital to get a true picture of the salary expense for all the employees, the 17-18 budget was $930,000 and the approved 18-19 budget is $1,142,000 which is a 22.8 percent increase in in the salary budget. In the same document the changes to the salary tables can be found and some salaries increased over 20 percent and the collective increase is 14.4 percent. These numbers to me are massive, and any increases of this size should have had an independent review. A $10,000 expense when proposing an annual increase of over $150,000 seems prudent. I do though agree with Jon that the employees are outstanding.
Jon also comments on the board decision to change the rate structure. The board did hire an independent review of the rate structure but didn’t follow the consultants’ recommendations. I agree that the rate structure had to change but my disagreement was in the method. Staff wanted a “bullet proof” solution and drove the consultants to that analysis instead of using other accurate cost of service methods to design the new rates. The board at the same time lumped a number of other items that drove up the increase and ignored suggestions that I made to soften the increase. Jon mentioned the San Juan Capistrano lawsuit that started the need to adjust the rates but failed to mention that they have three tiers with a base rate of over 6,000 gallons per month or three times the VOMWD initial tier. The decision could have been different if the board was truly sensitive to the rate payers.
Everything in my flyer is fact-based and accurate.
Kunde is committed to SRJC
EDITOR: As vice-chair of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation, I have gained a deep appreciation for the importance of our community college and the breadth of impact it has across all sectors of our local population. I have also come to realize the role of solid board leadership to ensure this institution can endure and thrive through times of disruptive change in education policy and finance. That’s why it’s critical we re-elect Jeff Kunde as our SRJC trustee for the Sonoma Valley.
Over the last 12 years Jeff Kunde has devoted thousands of hours to projects and initiatives that will keep SRJC on a strong strategic course, including passage of a $410 million bond issue that is transforming the 100-year-old campus into one that will be durable and relevant for generations to come.
Jeff’s opponent, John Kelly, in his brief tenure on the Sonoma Valley school board, has been subject of a district investigation and forced to publicly apologize for his abusive treatment of a female staff member. By his conduct Mr. Kelly has demonstrated he is temperamentally unfit to serve in a forum that relies on mutual respect and personal integrity. And now, less than half-way through his first term, he is abandoning this post in an effort to advance his political career.