Cambria finance director in line for five-digit raise

November 16, 2016
Cambria General Manager Jerry Gruber

Cambria General Manager Jerry Gruber


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.

Ben Daho

Interesting that We watch it happen before our very eyes.


So they want to give the finance manager, a guy who obviously doesn’t know budgeting, a $1000 + a month raise? That is a $6.25 an hour raise. Dang. Sign me up, my math and budgeting skills are legit. I calculate drip rates that save lives. Tracking down money will be NO PROBLEM…AND it would be a raise!!


Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls….step right up! Come closer…you won’t believe your eyes.We will amaze you with our waste fraud and abuse.Our spending will stupefy you while our bureaucracy grows and grows in front of you…


There going to raise water and sewer rates effect January 2017. Why not give the Finance Manager more money. Sounds like they have it all figured out. Plus it retro. The people of Cambria just roll over and believe what they’re told. Not the brightest bunch after all they believed the BS the Board said we’re on the verge of running out of water. How many millions of dollars did the toxic pond costs? I have some sand to sell any offers?


Stop the madness.


This goes on everywhere. To be incompetent seems to be the threshold for government advancement and rewards. Where else would any of the people survive if they ever had to be accountable?

Mitch C

Why? What is the going salary range for an accountant? This position’s salary should be tied to the real world. There is some managers who increase their staffs salaries as a means to inflate their salary at a later date under the guise that “I cannot make less than my staff”. I think that you would be hard put to find a $130,000 (plus another $40,000 benefit packet).accountant in SLO County.. Salaries should be tied to local wage scales, not based upon whatever the public can stand.


You forgot the basic response that they always give. We have to pay them that much and give them the benefits or they might go away and we loose them. Well that might their loss but our gain as there hundreds of people out there who are either qualified or maybe overqualified that would take those jobs in a second at a much reduced rate. Just look at all of the applications that are received when there is an opening for government job?


What does that creepy guy need all that $$$ for anyway?

Cambria blows…


O.K lets see Cal Pers finds numerous errors in reporting proper pay and other things, Gruber gives himself a huge raise then wants to give O’Reilly a huge raise for the lousy work they both have done. They should be getting a huge pay decrease for incompetence instead of a raise for it. The idea of paying someone for a job in a similiar town is insane, they should be paid on their merit which means they should get a huge pay cut.