The Idyllwild Water District Board of Directors and staff met last week to discuss the draft District Employee Personnel Manual. The Personnel Committee and staff have been preparing a new manual for several years.

IWD legal counsel Joe Aklufi mediated the meeting and took notes on the needed revisions in order to prepare the final manual. The board expects to hold a special meeting Monday, Oct. 7, to approve the manual.

Questions raised and discussed resulted in clarifying language and some revisions, such as recognizing that the
district does not use time clocks for hourly employees, thus in several places “time clock” had to be replaced with “records time.”

Some of the other subjects addressed during the meeting included district residence, performance pay policy, personal appearance and retiree health benefits.

For example, Aklufi stressed that the district cannot require employees to live within its jurisdiction. However, using a standard for response time would be appropriate.

Interestingly, it was the employees who recommended that IWD require field employees to buy or rent in the Idyliwild area. They were concerned about ensuring appropriate and timely responses to customer emergency calls.

General Manager Terry Lyons said a 30-minute response would be satisfactory. Attorney Aklufi replied that would be appropriate. Thus a 30-minute drive in a circle around Idyllwild would be acceptable rather than a specific point within town.

Employees Steve Kunkle and Ed Coughlin recommended a tighter limit because of the delays winter weather might impose.

In response to questions about salary schedule, step increases and some benefits, President Warren Monroe stressed that the actual amount each year would depend on the district’s financial condition. “We can’t spend more than we have.”

He also recommended that the Personnel Committee develop a list of water treatment, water distribution and other certificates whose achievement would yield a full salary step increase of 5 percent.

“The board is generally impressed with the way employees take this seriously to improve their education,” commented Director John Cook.

If approved, this manual will replace the existing 1996 personnel manual, according to Lyons.

“After several years of preparing the new manual, we can now say we meet all the current new labor laws. The directors, the Personnel Committee and the employees have completed a major goal for the district,” Lyons said.