Negative payroll savings (May 17, 2017)

One of the Town’s so-called selling points for the hostile takeover of our water company is that it save money by getting rid of the top six executives at Liberty Utilities. Because each of these six persons is necessary for the proper operation of the water system, the Town would have to replace them with government employees, qualifying for government pensions on top of government salaries, each of which is much higher than equivalent jobs in the private sector.

Would this represent a savings?

Let’s look at the top six earners at both Liberty Utilities and the Town of Apple Valley, leaving aside the Town Manager who presumably would not be directly involved in running the water system, even though a portion of his annual compensation would be applied as an expense to the water system account.

For Liberty Utilities in 2016, that number was $776,853, based on its most recent GO 77-M filing. For the Town of Apple Valley in 2016, that number is $1,475,857, according to Transparent California. In other words, the top six employees below the Town Manager at the Town of Apple Valley receive 90 percent more in payroll and benefits than the top six employees at Liberty Utilities.

Employee Liberty TOAV
Manager 340,412
198,638 322,715
120,373 270,564
116,460 250,858
115,272 233,540
113,417 216,790
112,692 181,390
Total 776,853 1,475,857

There are no other employees at Liberty Utilities with $100,000 or more in annual compensation.

There are 24 other employees at the Town of Apple Valley with $100,000 or more in annual compensation, including the dog-catcher.

Anyone who believes that we will save money by paying up to half a billion dollars to buy the water system we already have, and then spending more on employment costs, is clearly considering neither the facts nor the ramifications of their position.

We must vote down Measure F on June 6th.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.