Cambria finance director in line for five-digit raise

November 16, 2016
Cambria General Manager Jerry Gruber

Cambria General Manager Jerry Gruber

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Months after discrepancies surfaced in Cambria Community Services District accounting, CSD General Manager Jerry Gruber is proposing a nearly $15,000 salary increase for Finance Manager Patrick O’Reilly. The raise would amount to a more than $21,000 increase in O’Reilly’s total compensation.

Earlier this year, Gruber received an approximately $10,000 raise of his own. Gruber initially sought an even higher raise, which was dropped following public outrage.

On Thursday, the CSD board will consider raising O’Reilly’s salary $14,793 from $116,360 to $131,153. If the board grants O’Reilly the raise, the finance manager’s total compensation will increase $21,808, which would include bumps in health and pension benefits.

“The position of finance manager is crucial to the stability of the Cambria Community Services District,” Gruber stated in a staff report on the proposed raise.

Gruber’s proposal would place O’Reilly at the maximum level of pay in the CSD’s salary range for the finance manager position. In the staff report, Gruber compares the salary range for the Cambria finance manager job to the salary ranges for the finance director positions with the cities of Atascadero, Morro Bay and Paso Robles. Each of the three cities, Atascadero and Paso Robles in particular, have significantly higher populations than Cambria, an unincorporated community.

While Gruber’s raise was still under consideration, CalCoastNews reported there were significant discrepancies in the CSD’s accounting of the general manager’s pay. District staff reported salary figures to the CSD board that differed from what they reported to the California State Controller’s Office.

After CalCoastNews questioned CSD staff about the discrepancies, O’Reilly sent revised figures to the state controller’s office. The revised accounting shifted thousands of dollars Gruber received from being classified as salary to being classified as lump sum pay. District officials did not explain the accounting moves.

Additionally, last November, CalPERS, the state retirement system, released an audit of the Cambria CSD showing the district engaged in other questionable accounting practices in recent years. The audit covered July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014. O’Reilly began work in Cambria in Nov. 2014, according to his LinkedIn bio.

CalPERS auditors found numerous errors which they said constituted violations of the California Government Code. For example, the CSD’s pay schedule did not list the pay rate for the general manager position, and auditors had to reference another document to identify the rate of pay. Additionally, the pay schedule did not show the pay rate for a fire reservist position.

Other errors CalPERS auditors found included improper reporting of unused sick leave, misclassification of special compensation and failure to account for a raise an employee received. Accounting errors alter employees’ retirement benefits because the pay that workers receive factors into the pension they earn when retired.

CalPERS auditors also found the district classified an interim finance manager as a contractor, rather than an employee. By doing so, the CSD avoided submitting pension contributions for the worker, who was already a member of the state retirement system.

In response to the audit, O’Reilly said the district agreed with the majority of the findings but disputed some of them.

The district board will meet at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cambria veterans hall.







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13 Comments

  1. SLOBIRD says:

    You all miss the point with this raise. So, Cambria General Manager Jerry Gruber recommended a higher raise that the $10,000 for himself which he did not get. So, kick in some strategy and you raise the salary of those around you, then you come back in a year and let everyone know the gap is closing in from the leader of the pack and therefore, Gruber will get his balance of a raise.

    You see this played out in the bigger governments. Take SLO! The Police get a big raise and some benefits, then Fire comes along and say wait a minute, we need that same raise as we work along side the police, then the general employees need their raise and you gave Police and Fire x percent plus benefits and we too decide this as we keep the wheels turning, and then of course Management says, wait, we can’t have the Police officers making equal to the Police Chief and of course the Fire Personnel can’t make equal to the Fire Chief, and then we have Department Heads, City Attorney and the best one that allowed the increases, the City Manager needs a bigger raise because we all honor her leadership and worth to the organization. It is called a scam on the tax and rate payers!

    (20) 22 Total Votes - 21 up - 1 down
  2. grayotter1 says:

    Cambrians you are Dunderheads!!! (If you open your eyes and look around at your overpaid fleecing administrators and projects you’ll find out where your head is stuck and what Dunderhead means…).

    (22) 24 Total Votes - 23 up - 1 down
  3. 1965buick says:

    C’mon. Is that all? Surely he deserves more.

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down

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