Meeting Date:

June 21, 2010







Darby Fuerst,

General Manager


Line Item No:

Temporary Personnel





Prepared By:

Cynthia Schmidlin/

Stephanie Pintar

Cost Estimate: 



General Counsel Review:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on June 15th and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


SUMMARY:  In April 2010, clerical assistance from a local temporary agency was added at a cost of $19/hour in the Water Demand Division to assist the Water Conservation Technician with a backlog of Rebate Program applications caused by staffing requirements needed to implement the new database.  While the Rebate Program applications are now being processed in a timely manner, it is apparent that new work processes associated with the new database require significantly more staff time.  Staff must “migrate” or input information needed to make the new system fully functional.  This has resulted in a need to continue clerical assistance through a temporary agency.


The database has been basically implemented, but due to the extended absence of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), planned enhancements to make the system work better have been postponed.  Staff is presently using the new database for all daily functions and has found that each file (one file for information about each Assessor’s Parcel Number or APN) has to have its contents “migrated” in order to make the file useable.   This “migration” of historical data must occur every time a file is pulled, whether resulting from a scheduled inspection, a Water Permit application or a phone call.  Without completing this task at the time that there is an inquiry or action on a property, the District’s reporting, enforcement, and file accuracy is limited. 


Data migration is a piece of the database project that was identified early on as a task that would involve a great deal of time.   In the March 15, 2010, staff report in the Board packet regarding additional contracting for the database developer, the following was reported:


There will be a future requirement to migrate the old legacy data (i.e., the old database’s records that are in various formats) into the new system.  Although much of the data migration occurred with the initial implementation of the WDD-DBS, there remains a need to individually review files and input data that are not consistent with current reporting formats.  All of the old legacy DOS-based data for permits, conservation and rebates will eventually have to be matched to the fields in the WDD-DBS to enable complete data searches and reporting.  Transferred data must be cleaned up to match the new data fields so that logical and accurate reports can be generated.  The old legacy data needs to be transferred and corrected in a reasonable time frame so that the staff and the public can begin to reap the full benefits of the new system.  This process is referred to as “data mining.”  The mining effort itself tends to be very tedious and time consuming, as the data have to go through a quality control process. 


Funding for the data migration project will be included in the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 budget and will be contracted separately.  Staff is researching various options for the data mining effort. In addition to uploading the old legacy data, it is important to get the missing data for inspections (on paper) and parcel information (coming as an electronic file) into the new database. This is a simple data entry effort where a user will enter data into a computer by reviewing the paper document. In this case, this paper document would have been scanned into the document management system as a PDF (electronic) format. 


The CTO had looked into the possibility of outsourcing the migration piece of the project, but was not intending to contract for migration assistance until all enhancements to the database had been completed.  Even then, it is unclear whether this task can be fully conducted by an outside party or whether using District staff familiar with the nuances of the old database must be involved.  Funding for this portion of the project was not included in the draft FY 2010-2011 budget.


Migration of data is a multi-step process, beginning with scanning of the paper contents of a file.  This information then has to be manually “attached” to the electronic database file and unique fields or file content must be input into the new system.  Due to a number of variations in the way data has been entered over the past 23 years and because the old database contained text fields with important information that has to be translated into the new database, completing the migration for each file may take between 15 minutes (for a small and simple file) to five hours or more (for a large and complex file).  The amount of time needed is related to the number of past Water Permits and inspections and the amount of documentation in the file.  In some cases, even staff familiar with the old and new databases has difficulty converting the old data into the new database.


The Water Demand Division also continues to receive a large volume of Rebate applications.  In the first five months of 2010, the District has paid out more in Rebates than it did in all of 2009.  Rebate applications are expected to increase further as California American Water’s (Cal-Am) new rates impact high water users over the summer months and these users seek out additional ways to reduce their use. Outreach efforts by California American Water and the District have been very successful in promoting the program. The conservation campaign scheduled for September will be specifically targeted towards the Rebate Program, and will likely result in further activity. In addition, the Board will be considering modifications and further expansion of the Rebate Program in July 2010.


All of these factors have increased workload in the Water Demand Division that is not expected to change significantly until the data migration portion of the new database is completed or outsourced.  However, what impacts of the Cease and Desist Order (CDO) and Cal-Am’s request for a moratorium will have are not fully known at this time and may change the workload as different actions are (or are not) implemented.  At this time, the Conservation Technician and Conservation Representatives are all performing data migration tasks for the new database that were originally intended to be outsourced.  The addition of a temporary clerical employee in the Water Demand Office has provided support to the Conservation Technician and Conservation Representatives, allowing them to keep abreast of their increased workload and respond to the District’s customers in an efficient manner.  Without clerical assistance, staff will be required to spend more time on data migration, reducing the ability to enforce permit and conservation violations and lengthening the time to respond to the public and other agencies.  Potentially, impacts could include delayed data migration and loss of accuracy of files that relate to properties with current actions taken place.


The circumstances supporting this request were discussed by the General Manager, the Water Demand Manager and the Human Resource Analyst.  At this time, the request is for authorization to maintain temporary agency clerical support in the Water Demand Division for 26 weeks.  At that time, more information should be available about how data migration should be handled and about the impacts of the CDO and moratorium, as well as an idea about the expected volume of the Rebate program resulting from both the rates, conservation requirements, and the CDO.  Funding for temporary assistance for clerical assistance was included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010-2011 budget.


RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the expenditure of funds for a local temporary agency to provide an individual, or successive individuals if necessary, to perform clerical duties in the Water Demand Division for a period of 26 weeks in FY 2010-2011.


IMPACTS TO STAFF/RESOURCES: The proposed budget for FY 2009-2010 includes $75,500 for temporary help in the Water Demand Division.  A temporary agency employee, employed for 26 weeks in FY 2010-2011 will cost up to $19,760.


BACKGROUND: The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, in a joint-effort program with California American Water, has been administering the local Rebate Program for various pre-qualified water conserving appliances since l997. Expansion of the Rebate program in January 2010 added new Rebates, including a Rebate for Lawn replacement which requires pre- and post-inspections and deed restrictions.  In April 2010, the Board authorized the expenditure of budgeted funds to enter into an agreement with a temporary agency to provide a clerical worker for the remainder of FY 2009-2010 to assist the Conservation Technician with clerical duties (i.e., answering phones and scheduling inspections, inputting Conservation Certification Forms, scanning files, etc.) while the Conservation Technician was involved in the implementation of the new Water Demand Division database.