By Karen Brainard
With the Ramona Municipal Water District employees’ contract expiring Dec. 31, the board of directors is preparing for upcoming negotiations.
The board met in closed session Sept. 10 in a conference with labor negotiators. RMWD General Manager David Barnum said no bargaining has taken place but the initial focus is on the process, and the board is taking proactive steps to be prepared.
Ramona Municipal Water District Employees Association’s 2007 four-year contract has been extended twice. In November 2009, it was extended an additional year, to Dec. 31, 2012, with the stipulation that in January 2012 employees would contribute 1 percent to pension costs and in exchange receive a 1 percent cost of living increase.
Last year, the board agreed to extend the contract another year, to Dec. 31, 2013, and gave employees a 4 percent salary increase for this year with 2 percent of that going toward pension contributions.
In September 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 into law, which requires new public employees to contribute to their pension benefits. The act also sets a target for current employees of a public agency, such as the water district, to contribute up to 8 percent of their salary toward pension benefits by Jan. 1, 2018.