Ten-year Security Officer Rick Tompkins was promoted to sergeant in June, and he got his new badge – pinned on by his father, Keith – at the July Community Services District meeting. Security Chief Jeff Werblun, right, commended Tompkins for his CSD Security career and, most recently, for his role helping sheriff’s deputies arrest a burglary suspect earlier this month.
Residents brought their complaints about speeding cars and stop-sign runners to the Community Services District’s meeting this month. It was a smaller group than had appeared the night before at the Rancho Murieta Association board meeting. The CSD board also adjusted the salary ranges for its non-union employees.
Addressing the problem of speeding
Rob Allen of Medella Circle was among a handful of speakers at the July 18 meeting who followed up on a petition sent to the CSD by about 50 Murietans angry about speeding and unsafe driving on community streets.
Allen spoke emotionally about teenagers who drive 60 mph on his street and are a danger to his 8-year-old son. Allen said he has brought the problem to Security and to the neighbors whose teenagers are doing it. He said Security has done nothing and the neighbors deny it’s their children speeding.
Allen suggested the CHP be asked to do some traffic enforcement. Director Les Clark said sheriff’s deputies and CHP won’t enforce traffic regulations on our private streets. When Allen disagreed, Security Chief Jeff Werblun said the vehicle code doesn’t apply and it would require the RMA to ask for outside enforcement because RMA owns the roadways.
“So it’s a free-for-all is what you’re saying,” Allen said. “No,” Clark replied, “I think what we’re saying is it’s another hurdle that the community at large has to come together and overcome.”
Director John Merchant said he has been attending community meetings for 25 years where Murietans said they didn’t want outside enforcement of the vehicle code. “They want to pay the hundred dollars (RMA fine),” he said. “They don’t want points on their license.” Merchant said he’s more than willing to hire off-duty deputies for traffic enforcement.
Merchant said he would like RMA and CSD to do greater enforcement in the short-term, but a long-term answer needs to address the “ludicrous” lack of integration between the two organizations, which denies proper governmental services to the community.
General Manager Mark Martin said CSD officials met a couple of days before with RMA officials about enforcement of traffic rules and the use of new radar guns. He said CSD would reallocate resources so it can issue more citations for speeding and stop-sign running. “I think we’ll see an impact there with that,” he said.
“The community needs to engage itself in talking to their neighbors and their friends and saying ‘Knock it off,’" said Clark. Director Jerry Pasek added that the complaints he has heard are about weekend sports participants, from outside the community, using Guadalupe Drive to get to Stonehouse Park.
Jay Solomon, a past president of the Fishing Club, repeated his request that there be tighter enforcement of people fishing the community’s lakes.
Board President Mark Pecotich said residents are asking for more protective services, but the CSD’s Security survey last year found residents unwilling to pay more.
Merchant said he had reviewed 28 years of Security budgets and found spending for Security only increased from $700,000 to $1.39 million over that time, even as the community grew to include the South and its gate. “We’re basically doing what we did 28 years ago with the same amount of (Security) people,” Merchant said.
Adjusting salaries for non-union staffers
The board unanimously approved new salary ranges for non-union employees, which hadn’t been adjusted since 2014.
General Manager Mark Martin said an outside company conducted the survey among nine or 10 similar organizations to develop the salary recommendations.
Martin said that while the recommendation was for 5 percent increases in the salary ranges for most of the positions (and 7.5 percent for one), Martin advocated a 5 percent adjustment for all job ranges “in order to maintain the competitiveness of the district.” He emphasized that the change doesn’t mean automatic 5 percent raises for these employees, though in the case of the Security chief and sergeant, who are the bottom of their existing ranges, they’ll immediately qualify for a raise to the bottom level of the new ranges, he said.
The monthly salary ranges, which appear below, are retroactive to April 2017. (Click chart to see it at larger size.)
Owner of cart with child inside is identified
Neighbor Robin Albee-Kesich repeated what she shared at the previous night’s RMA meeting about an empty cart she saw parked at Murieta Plaza on a hot afternoon with gasoline cans attached to it and an infant in a car seat on the back. When the father returned, in the company of another child, the adults exchanged some heated words, Albee-Kesich said, and she waited for Security to answer her call about the incident, which never happened.
“I didn’t realize the person I was speaking of was in this room,” she said, bringing a "Perry Mason" moment to the CSD meeting. After a few moments of shocked confusion, the person she was speaking of turned out to be Eric Thompson, the CSD’s controller, who lives on the South.
After the meeting, Thompson walked a reporter to his cart, parked outside the CSD Building, and explained that the baby, 6 months old, was covered by a shade screen, which he produced from the cart. He disagreed with Albee-Kesich’s claim that the other child wasn’t buckled into the cart when the family left the parking lot.
“There’s nothing I love more than my children,” Thompson said. He said he was at the DVD vending machine outside the Murieta Market, just feet from his cart. He walked his other daughter to the door of the store, so she could run in quickly, and returned to the cart, which he said was never out of his sight.
“I’ll tell you what. I handled it inappropriately, I’ll fully admit that,” Thompson said of his interaction with Albee-Kesich. “You know, it’s like a slap in the face when you love your kids so much. ... I wasn’t gone long, I can assure you of that.”
In other business...
The board voted unanimous approval of these expenditures:
- $11,816 to Jensen Precast of Sacramento for a box culvert at the water treatment plant.
- $3,565 to American Crane Rental of Escalon for work on the box culvert.
- $41,722 to Xylem Water Solutions of Fairfield to replace the 30-year-old Cantova pumps and rails.
- $10,000 to Pac Machine of Sacramento for bypass work on the Cantova pump station.