Fallbrook Public Utility District’s (FPUD) board of directors voted to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with its employees association (FPUDEA) and management employees association (FMEA) for four years, commencing July 1, 2011 and continuing through June 30, 2015.
According to board president Don McDougal, the negotiations will have “zero impact” on ratepayers.
“Adjustments were made on retirement contributions and cost of living adjustments (COLAs), so there will be zero impact,” he said. “The main goal was for employees to contribute to their own retirement, and a new insurance program that was a cost-saver overall.”
According to FPUD general manager Keith Lewinger, FPUD will now only provide a Kaiser HMO for health insurance.
“If an employee chooses anything other than Kaiser, the employee pays the difference,” said Lewinger. “We still offer all the options we offered before which are Blue Cross HMO and Blue Cross PPOs. The Blue Cross plans are anywhere from $19 to $469 per month more expensive than the Kaiser plan depending on which Blue Cross plan is chosen and whether the coverage is for the employee alone, employee plus one, or employee plus two 2 or more.”
Employees will also pay towards their PERS retirement plan. Currently the District pays eight percent of their salary, which is known as the employee contribution.
“In the first year of the contract the employees will pick up two percent, in the second year four percent, in the third year six percent and in the fourth year eight percent,” said Lewinger. “The employees will receive a two percent COLA in each of the four years of the contract.”
In turn, the associations agreed to the reduction of two positions in the work force.
McDougal stated that the MOUs were set to a long period to help minimize the cost of negotiating.
“One of our goals was not to have to negotiate year after year, so we could avoid the cost associated with that,” said McDougal. “Bringing in legal counsel and labor counsel for negotiations gets extremely costly. A four-year MOU saves us the stress and strain of negotiations, and allows the general manager and staff to focus on district tasks. It was win-win for everyone.”