By Karen Brainard
Following a reorgnization at the Ramona Municipal Water District that eliminated two full-time positions—one being engineering, the water board has approved a $120,000 increase to its service agreement with an Encinitas-based engineering firm.
RMWD entered into a contract for the engineering services of Dudek and Associates on an as-needed basis in July 2011 for a not-to-exceed amount of $180,000. That agreement was unanimously amended by the board at its Jan. 24 meeting by adding $120,000 for a not-to-exceed total of $300,000 for the year-long contract.
RMWD General Manager David Barnum told the board Dudek can provide the eningeering services to meet the district’s engineering needs.
Board President Bryan Wadlington asked if the district will still be saving money with the increase.
“The increase in the agreement is offset by labor savings in the reorganization,” Barnum said.
Even with that increase, Barnum said the water district will still save $100,000 to $200,000 per year.
Ricardo Soto, a Dudek project manager, will work full time at the water district to deal with engineering and inspection work and contract management, said Barnum.
“We do have the opportunity to scale it back,” Barnum added.
Soto said he has worked for Dudek for seven years and has worked as a consultant for the San Diego County Water Authority.
In addition, Michael Metts, a principal at Dudek, will work with the water district on a part-time, as-needed basis.
In other business at the Jan. 24 meeting, the board approved Barnum as the district’s representative to the San Diego County Water Authority board. He replaces the district’s previous general manager, Ralph McIntosh, who retired in October 2011 and offered to stay as CWA rep until Barnum transitioned from his job as district chief financial officer to general manager.
McIntosh spoke at the meeting and discussed the time involved as the CWA rep, but said water district general managers are the preferable representatives “because they live and breathe this stuff day in and day out.”
McIntosh cautioned that the position could entail 40 hours per month between the daylong CWA board and committee meetings, subcommittee meetings and 300- to 400-page agenda packets. The board meetings can stretch into the early evening due to closed sessions, he said, adding this seems to be happening more often due to CWA’s litigation with the Metropolitan Water District.
“There’s a lot of long days involved,” McIntosh told the board.
After hearing the time commitment, Wadlington expressed concern for Barnum adding the position to his manager duties, saying the reorganization has asked employees to do more with less.
“We’ve put additional duties on you,” Wadlington said to Barnum, who responded that it makes sense for him to fill the spot.
Director Darrell Beck asked who would be able to take charge of the district while the general manager is at CWA meetings. Barnum said Finance Manager Richard Hannasch or Mike Metts with Dudek Engineering could fill in.
Barnum said he will not take the $150 monthly stipend to be CWA rep, which was McIntosh’s practice as general manager.
Also at the meeting, the board unanimously accepted the final redistricting maps, prepared by Shepherd and Staats, to be submitted to the San Diego Registrar of Voters. The district’s five divisions each have about 6,700 residents.