Meeting Date:

December 11, 2006






David A. Berger,

General Manager

Program: N/A

Line Item No.: N/A



Prepared By:

Cynthia Schmidlin

Cost Estimate:$7,322


General Counsel Approval:N/A

Committee Recommendation:The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on December 1, 2006, and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:N/A


SUMMARY: Requests have been made to reclassify two positions assigned to the Water Resources Division.


  1. Associate Hydrologist, Greg James, requested that his job be reviewed, stating that it was not properly classified. Both his immediate supervisor, Senior Hydrologist Darby Fuerst, and Water Resources Manager, Joe Oliver, support his contention.


  1. Joe Oliver has requested that the Senior Hydrogeologist classification, a position not currently on the Districtís organization chart, also be reclassified.


Formal analysis of these Water Resources Division reclassification requests was performed by Human Resources Analyst, Cynthia Schmidlin.This analysis resulted in recommendations to reclassify both positions in question.


Subject to Board approval of the Senior Hydrogeologist reclassification, the General Manager will be reassigning personnel within the Water Resources Division, allowing Joe Oliver and Darby Fuerst to return to positions they previously held.Joe Oliver would move from Water Resources Manager to the position of Senior Hydrogeologist.Darby Fuerst would then replace him as Water Resources Manager. This change would result in removal of the Senior Hydrologist position from the Districtís organization chart and replacement by a Senior Hydrogeologist position. The number of existing District staff positions will remain unchanged.


According to the provisions of both the General Staff Bargaining Unit and Management Staff Bargaining Unit Memorandums of Understanding, the Union was advised of these proposed reclassifications, and offered the opportunity to meet and confer on the implications of this proposed action. Union and District representatives met on November 20, 2006.The Union stated that it had no objections to the proposed reclassifications.


RECOMMENDATION: Authorize reclassification of one Associate Hydrologist position (Exhibit 15-A), Range 33 of the Districtís Salary Chart, to Hydrography Programs Coordinator (Exhibit 15-B), placed at Range 38 of the Districtís Salary Chart. Authorize reclassification of the Senior Hydrogeologist (Exhibit 15-C) position to add licensing requirements, and move it from Range 39 to Range 43 of the Districtís Salary Chart. Authorize a change to the Districtís current Organization Chart (Exhibit 15-D). One Associate Hydrologist position, Range 39, would be replaced with the new Hydrography Programs Coordinator position, and the Senior Hydrologist position would be replaced with the reclassified Senior Hydrogeologist position (Exhibit 15-E).


IMPACTS TO STAFF/RESOURCES: Reclassification of one Associate Hydrologist position to Hydrography Programs Coordinator would cost $1,320 in FY 2006-2007. This would represent an increase of $2,263 over a 12 month period, which is equivalent to .01% of the Fiscal Year 2006-2007 Budget allocated to Personnel Expenses. Reclassification of the Senior Hydrogeologist position would cost $6,002 for FY 2006-2007.This would represent an increase of $10,289 over a 12 month period, equal to .04% of the Fiscal Year Budget allocated to Personnel Expenses.The total cost of both reclassifications, if approved, would add $7,322 to personnel expenditures during the current fiscal year. The Districtís FY 2006-07 adopted Budget contains $145,300 more in total projected revenues, than the amount appropriated for expenditure.$122,569 of that excess revenue amount is committed to paying for salary and benefit increases contained in the Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) the District entered into with the General, Management and Confidential Bargaining Units after the Board adopted the FY 2006-7 Budget.By adding the $7,322 expenditure associated with this reclassifications proposal, the total amount committed to all personnel-related cost increases in FY 2006-07 would increase to $129,891.Thus, more than adequate resources exist to cover the cost of the proposed Water Resources Division reclassifications.If the reclassifications are approved, staff will propose amending the FY 2006-2007 Budget during the mid-year adjustment to appropriate the $129,891 needed to cover the cost of the reclassifications, as well as the compensation changes that resulted from the three MOUs. ††


BACKGROUND: The following summarizes Human Resources Analyst Schmidlinís detailed analysis of these reclassification requests.


A.Associate Hydrologist


††††† 1.†† Initial review of memos written this spring by Greg James and Darby Fuerst regarding reclassification of Gregís Associate Hydrologist position have been followed by meetings with both Senior Hydrologist Darby Fuerst and Water Resources Manager, Joe Oliver.†† Subsequent review of the job analysis submitted by Greg, James has made it clear that Gregís duties are not adequately reflected in his current job description (Exhibit 15-A). It is important to make a distinction between Gregís job responsibilities and those of the other Associate Hydrologist, Tom Lindberg, who currently shares an identical job classification. Gregís responsibilities have a broader scope and require a different skill set than those of the Associate Hydrologist. While Greg performs professional hydrologist functions at the advanced journey level required of an Associate Hydrologist, a large part of his time is devoted to the science of hydrography, a distinct branch of the larger hydrology field.Greg is also responsible for overseeing the Districtís surface water related programs and services, and acting as a project leader.


††††† 2.†† Consideration of Alternative Classifications/ Job Titles


††††† a)†† Senior Hydrologist:This classification already exists at the top of the Hydrologist career ladder. It was the first alternative explored.However, this classification performs the most technically advanced professional-level research studies in the field of hydrology.Gregís duties are not at this level.Also, the Senior Hydrologist has full supervisory responsibility for subordinate hydrologists, while Greg acts only as a project leader.Not recommended.


b)†† Senior Hydrographer:The creation of an entire new hydrography job series, with Greg Jamesí classification in the top position of the series, was considered.The reasoning was that if Greg was to leave the District, we would need to hire a hydrologist who is also skilled in hydrography.However, search of position classification data resulted in few job descriptions with the title of Hydrographer. Discussions with staff from Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, who have employed individuals in a hydrography job classification, suggest that this classification, is not a good match to Gregís duties.The Hydrographer designation is commonly applied to highly skilled technicians who perform complex field work in the gathering and general analysis of hydrologic and meteorological data.These are not positions that require the incumbent to possess the equivalent of a four-year degree, as is the case with Hydrologist positions.In agencies that employ hydrographers, it is the responsibility of hydrologists or engineers to review the hydrographersí initial data analysis. The work product is then used for more advanced analysis and journey level reporting, such as that performed at the District by Greg James.Not recommended.


c) Hydrography Programs Coordinator: The third alternative was to create a single classification to encompass Gregís duties and responsibilities. This classification would reflect the Districtís need for a journey-level hydrologist who also has responsibility for program management and project leadership using the science of hydrography.This classification would be distinguished from the Associate Hydrologist position by its responsibility for the Districtís hydrologic and surface water measurement and data measurement programs.It would be supervised by either a Senior Hydrologist or Senior Hydrogeologist (Exhibit 15-B). Recommended.


††††† 3. Internal Alignments/Salary Setting Rationale


††††† a) Internal Alignment:The Hydrography Programs Coordinator would be internally aligned with the Districtís Riparian Projects Coordinator.The duties of both positions include complex, journey-level professional work, project management, and responsibility as a team leader.However, neither position performs the most technically advanced professional work or supervises regular employees.This distinction caused the Riparian Projects Coordinator to be placed in Range 38, during the last full scale Classification/Compensation Study in 2001.That is one range below the internally aligned Senior Fisheries Biologist and Senior Hydrologist positions.Range 38 has a current salary range of $5563 to $6700 per month.


††††† b)†† External Salary Comparison: Direct comparisons of District Water Resources Division classifications to like classifications in other public agencies are difficult.Few Hydrologist positions are found in the 16 other organizations identified as comparable matches in the Districtís Personnel Compensation Policy.†† Further, due to the small size of the Districtís Water Resources staff, it is necessary for our positions to be responsible for a wide range of duties, rather than specializing, as is possible in larger organizations.However, indirect comparisons can be used, with adjustments made as necessary.


††††††††††† o††† California Department of†††††††††††††††††††††† Water Resources †††††††††††††† Top Step $5829

††††††††††††††††† Water Resources††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Engineering Associate


The Engineering Associate position performs hydography duties of complex measurement. However, it is not a professional hydrologist or project manager.Less responsibility. Approximately 15% below salary of the proposed Hydrography Programs Coordinator classification.


o††† Santa Clara Valley Water District †† Senior Hydrographer††† ††††††††††† Top Step $7471


The Senior Hydrographer, like the State Engineering Associate performs Hydrography duties of complex measurement, but is not a professional hydrologist or project manager.Less responsibility. Approximately 12% above the salary of the proposed Hydrography Programs Coordinator classification.


o††† US Geological Survey†††††††††††††††††††† Hydrologic Technician ††††††††††† Top Step $6439

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Senior Level GS-11†††††


This is the closest match to the duties of Greg Jamesí position.Despite the title, this is a journey level professional hydrologist position that also performs both hydrographic measurement and the most complex analysis.This is the highest level in the series and has lead responsibility with lower level positions.Comparable responsibility. Within 4% of salary of proposed salary for Hydrography Programs Coordinator classification.


4. Recommended Reclassification and Placement of Greg James


It is proposed that Greg James be reclassified as Hydrography Programs Coordinator.It is also proposed that Greg be placed, as is the custom with reclassifications, in the closest salary step of the new class.That would put him in Range 38, Step C.This would represent an increase from his current salary of $5954 per month to $6104 per month.


B.Senior Hydrogeologist


††††† 1.†† From 1990 to 1996, Darby Fuerst served as the Districtís Water Resources Manager and Joe Oliver was the Districtís Senior Hydrogeologist. In December of 1996, Darby assumed the General Manager position and Joe was promoted to Water Resources Manager.Joe has continued to act as the Districtís senior hydrogeologist in his capacity as Division Manager.In July 2001, Darby took a voluntary demotion to Senior Hydrologist while Joe remained Water Resources Manager.


This spring, Joe Oliver requested his own voluntary demotion from Water Resources Manager to his former position of Senior Hydrogeologist, recommending that Darby Fuerst return to the Water Resources Manager job.Joe requested this change in status in anticipation of a significant increase in his workload beginning this year, resulting from the combined impact of a) overseeing construction management of the second Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) well and further expansion of the permanent ASR program; b) serving on the newly-formed Seaside Groundwater Basin Watermaster Technical Advisory Committee, and becoming lead technical staff person responsible for completing and overseeing implementation of the court-ordered Basin Monitoring and Management Plan (Plan), given that the Watermaster has tentatively selected the District (in conjunction with Monterey County Water Resources Agency) as Program Manager for the Plan; and c) providing guidance and assistance to the newly appointed Sr. Fisheries Biologist to ensure that individual's successful transition into the Division and District.†† Under this proposal, the Senior Hydrologist position would be eliminated from the organization chart and replaced by a Senior Hydrogeologist. General Manager Berger reviewed and approved this request, following thorough discussion of potential workload impacts with Joe and Darby, and review of Division organization management alternatives.Joe has also requested reclassification of the Senior Hydrogeologist position.


††††† 2. Internal Alignments/Salary Setting Rationale


a) Internal Alignment:The Classification and Compensation Study of 2001 placed the job classification of Senior Hydrogeologist at Range 39 on the Districtís Salary Schedule.It was placed in the same pay range as the Senior Hydrologist classification.Both job classes were placed in ranges 15% higher than the benchmark position of Associate Hydrologist.Both job classes were internally aligned to the position of Senior Fisheries Biologist. Neither the Senior Hydrologist nor the Senior Hydrogeologist job description currently includes a professional licensing requirement.


Upon study of the Johnson and Associates 2001 Final Classification Report, review of professional publications on licensing requirements, and discussions with Joe Oliver and Darby Fuerst, it has been determined that the Senior Hydrogeologist classification carries additional responsibilities and requirements that should place it higher on the salary chart than Senior Hydrologist.Hydrogeologists have a separate skill set from hydrologists. The State of California requires that a practicing hydrogeologist be licensed as a Professional Geologist, and also as either a Certified Hydrogeologist or a Registered Civil Engineer with a specialty in hydrogeology. There are no licensing requirements for practicing hydrologists.


Joe Oliver meets the State requirements for a practicing hydrogeologist.Having such a licensed person on staff is required for the District to be able to pursue its mission. Classification of the vacant Senior Hydrogeologist position as an unlicensed position, performing at the same level as a Senior Hydrologist, was an oversight.The consultants from Johnson and Associates may have miscalculated that, because Joe Oliver was the Districtís licensed Hydrogeologist, any additional position could operate at a lesser level of responsibility. This may be true for some engineering classifications, but not for hydrogeologists in this state.


When Joe last occupied the position of Hydrogeologist, he was classified in Pay Range 43.The salary for this range is 10% higher than that for the Senior Hydrologist.This differentiation would recognize the State licensing requirement and the higher professional level it represents.The pay for Range 43 is $6256 to $7453.


††††††††††† b)†† External Salary Comparison: Only one Hydrogeologist position is found in the 16 other organizations identified as comparable matches in the Districtís Personnel Compensation Policy.


††††† o††† Alameda County Water District†††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Hydrogeologist 2.†††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††Top Step $7,797 †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††


This is a journey level classification that may sometimes require the direction of professional staff, but does not perform the most technically advanced hydrogeologic analysis that would be required of the Districtís Senior Hydrogeologist.Less responsibility. Approximately 4.5% above the salary of a Senior Hydrogeologist placed in Range 43 of the Districtís Salary Schedule.


††††† o††† State of California Water Resources Control Board†††††††††††††††Senior Engineering Hydrologic Technician ††††††††††Top Step $7,857 †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† †††††††††††



This incumbent of this classification provides a high level of engineering geologic, hydrogeologic, and management skills and expertise, and exercises wide latitude of responsibility and professional judgment. Responsibilities include supervising, organizing, directing, and coordinating the work of unit staff.Good match in the level of technical expertise with a larger scope of operations and supervisory responsibility. Approximately 5.5% above the salary of a Senior Hydrogeologistplaced in Range 43 of the Districtís Salary Schedule.


There are other classifications, within the Personnel Compensation Policyís list of comparable agencies that match the Hydrogeologistís level of discipline scope. However many of them fall in the category of Engineer, such as the following:


††††† o††† Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency††††† ††††††††††† Project Engineer†††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† ††††††††††† Top Step $8,947 ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††


The problem with finding a true salary match within engineering classifications is the higher level of compensation for engineers, across the board, as opposed to those who have degrees in the physical science, with concentrations in the areas of hydrology and hydrogeology.However, it should be noted that the responsibility for hydrogeology work in many public agencies is assigned to engineers, with the requisite compensation.


††††† 3.†† Recommended Reclassification of Senior Hydrogeologist


It is recommended that the Senior Hydrogeologist job description be amended to include the California State requirements for professional licensing.The job classification should then be placed in Range 43.



15-A††† Associate Hydrologist Job Description

15-B††† Proposed Hydrography Programs Coordinator Job Description

15-C††† Revised Senior Hydrogeologist Job Description

15-D††† Current District Organization Chart

15-E††† Proposed District Organization Chart