Even though the Dublin San Ramon Services District board of directors recently approved plans to award workers with bonuses - some as high as $30,000 - they say it doesn't necessarily mean any of the district's employees will be receiving any.
Awarding bonuses has everything to do with the economy, according to Sue Stephenson, spokeswoman for the district that provides sewer services to Pleasanton and San Ramon and drinking water supplies to Dublin and the Dougherty Valley area of San Ramon.
"I'm not holding my breath," Stephenson said. "I would not be surprised if (the 2009-10 fiscal year) is much like '09 (2008-09 fiscal year) - which was zero (bonuses)."
Stephenson says the board's recent approval to award workers with bonuses was just a technicality and would only be given if there is enough money left over to award bonuses.
Stephenson said the district has an employee incentive program, Pay for Performance, which is geared toward rewarding senior managers no more than 15 percent of their base salaries for achieving work-related goals.
Under the program, district employees receive up to a 10-percent bonus for reaching those same work performance benchmarks.
But, Stephenson clarified that bonuses are only rewarded "if it's a good year," financially, such as a surplus in the district's operating budget. If that doesn't occur, there are no bonuses. Whether any bonuses will be paid out for '09 will be determined this fall, she added. A date has yet to be set to consider this.
The board drew additional criticism from some district residents for its decision as it followed an approval in July to raise district sewer rates by $39.78 per year. The rate increase to residential customers is said to assist in offsetting a rise in cost for wastewater treatment services.
The district's goal is to keep rates for customers as low as possible, Stephenson said. Employees face furlough days totaling two weeks per year, she added, which is equivalent to a 4-percent cut in pay.
The employee incentive program began in 1998. During a 10-year period between then and 2008, the district awarded in excess of $2.2 million in bonuses. That amount includes the $370,000 given to 37 employees as bonuses following the completion of the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Stephenson said the 2008-09 fiscal year was the last time anyone received a bonus.