Westlands Water District’s managers just can’t seem to help themselves. The district, along with the general manager and a former treasurer, were fined $125,000, $50,000 and $20,000, respectively, by the SEC for playing fast and loose with accounting procedures in the issuance of $77 million in revenue bonds.
In addition, the CALPERS Office of Audit Services performed an audit in 2013 on retirement benefits afforded district personnel. Before retirement in 2009, an individual had worked for the district as deputy general manager at $55.29 per hour. Ten days after retirement, this individual was rehired to perform the same duties, at an increase to $75 per hour. In another instance, an assistant general manager was granted an 18 percent increase in salary five months before retirement. Sweet deals, but in both cases OAS determined that these retirement benefit arrangements did not comply with government codes.
The sweetest deal of all is the recently revealed $1.4 million loan at 0.84 percent interest rate in 2007 to a deputy general manager who no longer works for the district but still owes for the loan. Wouldn’t it be nice if farmers in the district had access to district loans when drilling their next wells?
Don Bush, Fresno