bbwater-thumbThe Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency is the latest, given economic circumstances, to modify its Memorandum of Understanding with employees. Like the Community Services District before them, the updated BBARWA agreement puts a hold on raises, though assures employees of continued employment—while continuing to hold on rate increases for BBARWA’s Valley-wide customers. Per BBARWA’s General Manager Steve Schindler, “Due to the unique economic times, we asked employees to open their current, five-year contract; they offered many concessions, including the voiding of the current contract that ran through 2011. Employees agreed to forego longevity and COLA (cost of living allowance) adjustments for management employees, and we agreed to forego hiring of normal seasonal and part-time positions during the summer—and that’s open-ended at this time. They gave up their step and longevity increases beginning in 2010, so that we’re not looking at any layoffs or furloughs.” BBARWA employees, per the new, open-ended MOU, also gave up six sick days per year, as well as overtime pay on holiday weekends. Insurance will remain intact though, come 2011, employees will be asked to pay the difference if opting for the PPO over the HMO plan offered by BBARWA. Still, despite these concessions, the BBARWA employees will have continued work at the wastewater agency. “One of the benefits,” adds Schindler, “is that we’re not looking to balance the BBARWA budget through layoffs or furloughs. BBARWA has not raised rates in six years, and there are no plans to do so at this time.” In other news from the June 24 meeting of the BBARWA Governing Board, treatment plant improvements were not decided upon—rather, the Board asked staff to provide additional information which will be presented at a future meeting (though the July meeting of the BBARWA Board has been adjourned). One of the highlights of the BBARWA meeting was recognition of Bob Sellards, who was named the California Environmental Water Association’s “Electrical and Instrumentation Person of the Year.” Schindler points out that this honor was for the entire state; Sellards oversees IT and is the Senior Laboratory Analyst and, adds Schindler, “He handles about three or four different jobs. Bob is our longest serving employee, since 1992, and one of the most valuable.”