Meeting Date:           February 19, 2004                  Budgeted: Yes           

Program: Conservation Fund Contingency

Staff Contact:             Stephanie Pintar                     Cost Estimate: $13,600


General Counsel Approval: N/A

Committee Recommendation: The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on February 10, 2004 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance: N/A


SUMMARY:  Water Demand Division staff members need the services of a temporary office assistant for the remainder of the fiscal year.  An increased workload due to special projects and new ordinances has been impacting staff’s ability to provide timely follow-ups to inspections and regular issuance of enforcement letters for permit violations.  Staff is finding it difficult to provide answers to complex inquiries and offer in-house Notary services to permit applicants while also covering incoming calls and basic inquiries at the front counter.  The office assistant would answer phones and greet customers, transferring calls to the appropriate staff member and answering routine questions.  The assistant would also assist staff by scheduling inspections and performing general office duties, including data entry and retrieval.


RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the expenditure of funds to hire a temporary office assistant in the Water Demand Division for the remainder of the fiscal year.  The temporary agency would be paid $17.38 per hour.  This would cover the employee’s hourly wage and agency expenses, including payroll taxes and workers’ compensation.  The Administrative Committee considered this item at its February 10. 2004 meeting and voted 3 to 0 to support the request.


IMPACTS TO STAFF/RESOURCES: The budget for FY 2003-2004 includes $15,200 in the Conservation Contingency Fund, none of which has been spent. The cost of a temporary office assistant for the remainder of the fiscal year would be approximately $13,600.


BACKGROUND: The workload for the Water Demand Division has increased over the past few months, and is anticipated to increase further in the near future.


1)         The Board has approved contracts with consultants for the completion of two special projects involving reorganization of the database and development of a new policies and procedures manual.  Division staff will be required to devote many hours of their time over the next five months in order to work with the consultants on these projects.


      2)    In December 2003, Ordinance No. 110, which expanded the rebate program to include ultra-

low-flow appliances, was implemented.  As a result, rebate applications, and the resulting workload for preparation and research have significantly increased.

3)    Ordinance No. 111, amending District Rules 11 and 24, will be effective on March 1, 2004. This ordinance will allow property owners to gain water credits if they can provide evidence that outdoor fixtures have been legally installed.  It is anticipated, from the current level of inquiry, that the new process will significantly increase the number of phone calls, water use credit applications, inspections, and appealed decisions.


The addition of a temporary office assistant will provide the extra clerical support currently needed in the Water Demand Division.  It will free the time required for special project completion and initial implementation of new ordinances, while allowing staff to continue providing quality customer service to Peninsula residents.