Wednesday, November 16, 2016

AWA Directors Spending Ratepayer funds at an Astonishing Rate

We can rest assured that our water rates will be going up. AWA directors have wasted the money from the rate increases they took in 2015. That last increase was supposed to be good for 5 years (until 2020) and it’s only been a little over a year now. Here is how they are misusing our rate money:
Directors use public funds to cover their illegal actions.
All five directors agreed to use our rate money (about $18,000) to pay for an illegal letter to oppose the rate referendum in 2015. Then, when a ratepayer reported them to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) the directors hired a legal firm using our rate money to protect them from being personally fined. That firm was able to convince the FPPC to fine RATEPAYERS $3,000 for the actions of the directors!
It takes nearly two General Managers to run the Agency?
Yes it does. Eight years ago, the agency had 63 employees and only one General Manager (GM) and no assistant GM. In 2009, the staff was reduced to 42. The Board created an assistant GM position and just recently gave the Assistant GM a huge pay raise to 86% of the GM’s salary. So, it used to take one salary to manage 63 employees. Now it takes 1.86 salaries to manage 42. Nearly $500,000 per year goes to pay these two employees!
Gravity Supply Line contractor sues AWA and is awarded $1,100,000.
AWA’s gravity Supply Line (GSL) had many problems during and after construction. AWA staff and directors publically blamed the contractor for the problems. Based on language in the settlement agreement, the contractor was not happy about the defamation and sued AWA over contentions relating to extra work, design, failure to properly administer the Project, delays, responsibility for delays, performance of claimed deficient/defective work, alleged failure to perform, as well as a series of unresolved additional contentions. Looks like the spouting off cost us some serious bucks. In fact, so much that AWA doesn’t have enough to pay the settlement without first getting a $300,000 loan from the county Supervisors.
The GSL contractor contended that the AWA had materially breached the Contract. AWA agreed to drop all of the claims related to delay or liquidated damages as if they had never been asserted.
Over 1,000,000 wasted on piping Amador Canal
After years of pursuing a project that would take water from Amador County and give it to EBMUD customers, AWA quit after spending more than a $1,000,000. The planning was so poor that the $5 million grant that was supposed to be used to fund the project turned out to be about half of what was needed and would expire before AWA could use it. AWA underestimated the value of the property easements, the cost of construction, the cost of land valuation and litigation costs. Because AWA Directors changed their mind AFTER awarding the project construction, they had an additional $25,000 settlement expense to pay the contractor. As a result, the project became another big waste of money with no benefit to ratepayers.
AWA has wasted over $2,000,000.00 that is directly attributed to bad decisions and poor planning.  Have you heard one word about any of this?

OF COURSE NOT!  But now we will understand why, when the agency attempts to raise our rates one more time. Think about this…. Without the rate increase from 2015, they wouldn’t of had the money to waste in the first place. When they come knocking, let’s not give them any more to waste.
Ratepayer Protection Alliance
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