ITEM:

ACTION ITEMS

20.

CONSIDER APPROVAL OF WATER CONSERVATION TECHNICIAN RECLASSIFICATION AND CHANGE TO THE DISTRICT’S ORGANIZATION CHART

Meeting Date:

September 17, 2007

Budgeted:

No

From:

David A. Berger,

Program:

N/A

General Manager

Line Item No.:

Prepared By:

Cynthia Schmidlin

## $2,182 General Counsel Approval: N/A Committee Recommendation: The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on September 11, 2007, and recommended approval. CEQA Compliance: N/A SUMMARY: On November 28, 2006, Water Demand Manager, Stephanie Pintar requested reclassification review of the three Conservation Representative I/II positions and one Conservation Technician position assigned to the Water Demand Division. Rick Dickhaut and Cynthia Schmidlin met with representatives of LIUNA Local 270, in February 2007, as response to this and other reclassification requests. An individual reclassification request procedure, requested by the Union, was developed in March 2007. This procedure was incorporated into the Memorandums of Understanding with the General and Management Staff Bargaining Units, effective July 1, 2007. In accordance with this procedure, the General Manager determined that reclassification analysis was justified and assigned it to the Human Resources Analyst. The reclassification analysis determined that there had been significant increase in the level of skill and responsibility associated with the Conservation Technician’s job functions. It made a recommendation for reclassification, with the creation of a new developmental position. The General Manager reviewed the analysis and agreed with its determinations and recommendations. The reclassification analysis further determined that the four positions in the Conservation Representative I/II classification should remain at their current placement on the District’s salary chart. Some of the most responsible functions of the Conservation Representative II positions are being performed more frequently, with additional steps now required for established tasks. The water permitting process is more arduous and time consuming. However, none of the additional steps exceed the highest level of complexity and responsibility already described in the current job description. Such journey level proficiency is fully consistent with the Conservation Representative II level characteristics that distinguish it from the Conservation Representative I level. The General Manager and Human Resources Analyst met informally with the two Conservation Representative II’s and Water Demand Manager to answer questions about the analysis. Subsequently, District representatives also met with the Conservation Representative II’s and their LIUNA representative. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize reclassification of the Conservation Technician classification (Exhibit 20-A), Range 16 of the District’s Salary Chart, to Conservation Technician I/II (Exhibit 20-B), a flexibly-staffed, developmental classification placed at Ranges 18 and 22 of the District’s Salary Chart. Authorize a change to the District’s current Organization Chart (Exhibit 20-C). The Conservation Technician position, Range 16, would be replaced with the new Conservation Technician I/II position (Exhibit 20-D). IMPACTS TO STAFF/RESOURCES: Reclassification of the Conservation Technician to Conservation Technician I/II and placement of the incumbent in Range 22 would cost approximately$2,182 for the remainder of FY 2007-2008.  This would represent an increase of $2,900 over a 12 month period. The$2,182 cost in FY 2007-2008 is only about .07% of the personnel portion of the budget, and less than .03% of the total operating budget. Thus, while funds for this reclassification were not specifically included in the 2007-2008 budget, staff has determined that the budget contains sufficient funds to cover this minor additional cost.

BACKGROUND:  The following summarizes Human Resources Analyst Cynthia Schmidlin’s detailed analysis of the Conservation Technician reclassification request.

Conservation Technician

The incumbent of the Conservation Technician position, Debra Martin, is performing duties at a higher level than those described in the current Conservation Technician job classification.  She continues to perform all of the office assistant duties in her job description, as well as answering general and routine questions about District regulations and procedures.  Additionally she has been given responsibility for many tasks that are at or beyond the scope and complexity of those performed by a Conservation Representive I, as listed below:

1)      Coordinate with District counsel in the process surrounding the creation, cataloging and updating of deed restrictions.

2)      Interpret non-routine application rules to specific projects and calculate connection charges and water allocation required for project using established rules and precedents.

3)            Respond to complicated questions from city planners and other representatives from the jurisdiction regarding the interpretation of District permit rules and how they apply to specific projects.

4)            Monitor compliance with conservation and permit requirements and prepare notices of non-compliance to be reviewed by legal counsel and recorded on the property title.

5)            Compiles quarterly data from California American Water Company sales reports and Carmel Area Wastewater District water-year usage reports and produces related staff reports which are published as part of the Board Packet.

The Conservation Technician’s function in the Water Demand Office is more specialized than that of the Conservation Representatives. She does no inspections or landscape audits. She is not responsible for producing reports with extensive narrative or recommendations for action.  She does not attend Board Meetings, do public presentations, produce or present public education materials. She does not process permits. On the other hand, the Conservation Technician explains more than the basic conservation rules and processes to the public that are described in her current job description.  She answers questions on all but the most complicated policies and procedures, explaining water use permits, water credits and credit transfers, deed restrictions and appeals.  She develops the Division’s clerical process procedures.  She is solely responsible for the Rebate Program, researching new water use technology related to water fixtures.  She maintains a data base and tickler file for permit requirements, composing and sending out enforcement letters as required when requirements are not met. She has been responsible for developing the templates for the District’s various deed restrictions, and is the Water Demand Division’s point of contact with the attorneys reviewing the completed deed restrictions for accuracy and legal compliance before they are sent to property owners for signature.

Determination: There has been significant accretion of the Conservation Technician’s duties. The Conservation Technician class was created during the last District-wide Classification Study performed by Johnson and Associates in 2001. The needs of the division and the incumbent’s aptitude and ability for higher level responsibilities resulted in a reclassification of a relatively new Office Specialist I/II position to Conservation Technician at that time.  The duties of the Conservation Technician have expanded further over the past 6 years.   The incumbent’s ability to perform these higher level duties has provided valuable technical knowledge, enhancing overall effectiveness and efficiency in the Water Demand Division, which has experienced a significant increase in workload and regulatory complexity since 2001.  If the current Conservation Technician were to leave her position, the District would need to recruit another individual who would be capable of developing the skills and abilities to perform at this higher level.

Recommendation: A new Conservation Technician I/II class should be created to run parallel to, but placed slightly lower on District’s salary chart than, the Conservation Representative I/II class.   The Conservation Technician class could still be used as originally intended to provide support for the Conservation Representatives as well as basic information to the public.  Experience as a Conservation Technician I would still qualify the incumbent to advance to the Conservation Representative series.  However the Conservation Technician II level would also allow an alternative career path in an office based technical support role that would not include field work or the more advanced Conservation Representive II responsibilities.  The Conservation Technician I/II developmental classification would be placed on the salary chart as follows:

Conservation Technician I – Range 18.  This is placed two ranges higher than the current Conservation Technician, due to the fact that this new classification position is designed to be developmental, which is similar to the Conservation Representative I/II.  Incumbents at this entry level would be expected to learn the full scope and duties and responsibilities of the journey-level Conservation Technician II over time. Developmental positions are appropriate to the Water Demand Division since the range of duties are very broad, ranging from clerical functions to interpretation of a wide range of ordinances.  Due to the unique nature of District water permitting/credit regulations and procedures, several years’ experience at the I level may be required for advancement to the II level. The current Conservation Technician classification was placed at Range 16 and internally aligned with the Senior Office Specialist. Neither of these classifications are currently developmental.

Conservation Technician II – Range 22.  This is placed two ranges below the level of Conservation Representative II.  The Conservation Technician II does not perform the higher level duties of a Conservation Representative II.   It does not check construction plans or process permits.  It does not prepare complex staff reports for Board presentation or participate in outreach and education programs regarding conservation issues.

As with the Conservation Representative I/II classification, the new class would be flexibly staffed.  A new employee would be hired as a Conservation Technician I.  He or she would be able to advance to Conservation Technician II following a determination by their supervisor, that they were successfully performing the full range of duties at the higher level.  Debbie Martin is currently performing the full range of Conservation Technician II duties.  She should be placed in Range 22 on the District Salary Chart.

### EXHIBITS

20-A    Existing Conservation Technician Job Description

20-B    Proposed Conservation Technician I/II Job Description

20-C    Current District Organization Chart

20-D    Proposed District Organization Chart

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