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File #: 2020-0305   
Type: Regular Calendar Item Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 3/17/2020 In control: Sonoma County Water Agency
On agenda: 4/21/2020 Final action:
Title: Sonoma County Water Agency Appointment of Retiree Extra-Help
Department or Agency Name(s): Sonoma County Water Agency
Attachments: 1. Summary
Date Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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To: Board of Directors of Sonoma County Water Agency

Department or Agency Name(s): Sonoma County Water Agency

Staff Name and Phone Number: David Manning (707) 547-1988

Vote Requirement: 4/5th

Supervisorial District(s): Countywide




Sonoma County Water Agency Appointment of Retiree Extra-Help



Recommended Action:

Recommended action

Pursuant to Government Code §7522.56 approve the appointment of Shawn Chase as a Water Agency Senior Environmental Specialist Extra-Help, in order to fill a critically needed position within 180 days of his retirement, with an appointment date as early as April 21, 2020. (4/5th. Vote Requirement)



Executive Summary:

Pursuant to the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA), Government Code §7522.56, an exception can be made to reappoint a retiree as extra-help provided the governing body certifies that the appointment is necessary to fill a critically needed position, in those circumstances where 180 days from the date of retirement has not yet passed.  This approval must be in a noticed public meeting and not on a consent calendar.  PEPRA includes other requirements in order for a retiree to be eligible for an Extra-Help appointment, such as not having accepted a retirement incentive and not having accepted unemployment arising out of prior public appointment.  The individual and delegated agency staff have completed the Retiree Extra-Help Compliance Form certifying the appropriateness of the appointment.




Shawn Chase, Water Agency Senior Environmental Specialist, retired on December 30, 2019.  He entered Sonoma Water service on February 24, 1998 as a Senior Environmental Specialist and was reclassified to Water Agency Senior Environmental Specialist on October 21, 2014.


At the time of his retirement, Mr. Chase was responsible for several state and federal endangered species act compliance fish sampling programs in the Russian River. Sonoma Water is compelled to undertake several fish population monitoring efforts in order to comply with the National Marine Fishers Service’s (NMFS) 2008 Biological Opinion for Water Supply, Flood Control Operations, and Channel Maintenance (RRBiOp).


Among the more labor intensive of the fish population monitoring activities compelled by the RRBiOp is operation of downstream migrant traps at five locations in the lower Russian River watershed including Dry Creek and mainstem Russian River at the Agency’s Mirabel inflatable dam site in Forestville. Together, NMFS and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (carefully regulate downstream migrant trapping (as well as other fish capture activities conducted by Sonoma Water) in order to minimize population-level impacts to endangered species. Importantly, each agency requires sampling permits and approval of the experience level of personnel on-site while these monitoring activities are being conducted.

The RRBiOp directs Sonoma Water to conduct downstream migrant trapping daily from spring through summer. This effort requires on-site presence of at least one state and federally permitted staff member seven days per week. As a long-time member of Sonoma Water staff, Shawn Chase served as an experienced crew leader helping to ensure that Sonoma Water met our regulatory obligations. A recruitment is underway to fill Mr. Chase’s position.  However, the required spring trapping season is imminent and Sonoma Water must be able to fully staff the sampling program with an experienced crew leader.  Allowing Mr. Chase to return as a retiree extra help will ease strain on staff resources and allow the incumbent time to learn skills required for the Senior Environmental Specialist position.  Because Mr. Chase’s retirement will severely strain our ability to continue complying with the permits necessary to implement the RRBiOp, we request permission to hire Shawn as a Senior Environmental Specialist (Extra Help) in April or as soon thereafter as possible.


Sonoma County Water Agency has consulted with the Human Resources Department which is supportive of the recommended action.


In accordance with Government Code section 7522.56, the Sonoma County Water Agency is asking the Board certify as follows:

1)                     Shawn Chase’s appointment to Water Agency Senior Environmental Specialist, Retiree Extra-Help is necessary to fill a critically needed position within 180 days of his retirement date;

2)                     Shawn Chase did not accept retirement incentives upon his retirement; and

3)                     Shawn Chase’s appointment shall not exceed 960 hours per year.

4)                     Per Internal Revenue Code section 401(a)(36), Shawn Chase meets the requirement of being of normal retirement age.


If the Board of Directors makes the foregoing certifications, Shawn Chase will be hired as of April 21, 2020 as Water Agency Senior Environmental Specialist, Retiree Extra-Help.


Prior Board Actions:



Fiscal Summary


FY 19-20 Adopted

FY20-21 Projected

FY 21-22 Projected

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Narrative Explanation of Fiscal Impacts:

The cost of the extra help retiree position is approximately $30,752 assuming usage of 640 extra help hours at $48.05/hour. It is projected that $7,688 or 160 hours will be expended in FY 19-20 (20 hours/week in each May and June), with 480 hours or $23,064 projected to be used in FY 20-21.   Expenses for FY 19-20 will be absorbed by existing appropriation in Sonoma Water’s General Fund.  Expenses for FY 20-21 will be budgeted in that fiscal year.


Salary and benefits are budgeted in the General Fund which is funded through water sales revenue, taxes and grants.  The General Fund is reimbursed by our enterprise funds through project costing.  The Water Agency’s cost accounting system allocates labor costs to Water Agency projects specific to its enterprise funds.



Staffing Impacts:




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Narrative Explanation of Staffing Impacts (If Required):

This is a Retiree Extra-Help appointment; no permanent allocations are being added or changed.





Related Items “On File” with the Clerk of the Board: