Council: Water processing/recycling
December 18, 2015

Santa Paula News

The City Council will consider the performance of the City Manager behind closed doors, consider settling a lawsuit with the union representing the city’s full-time firefighters and see about asking for proposals on how to eliminate chlorides in the water supply at Monday’s meeting.

The December 21 session will start at 6 p.m. with a closed session to evaluate the performance of City Manager Jaime Fontes.

Following the closed session in the Administration Conference Room the meeting will reconvene at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. The session will be broadcast live by Time Warner Cable Channel 10 and replayed according to schedule. The city will live stream the meeting on its website where it will be archived for viewing on demand.

There will be two presentations regarding the 5-year plan of the Santa Paula Housing Authority and an update from United Water Conservation District.

The council will consider launching a Request for Proposal for city waste water processing and water recycling services and in a separate action consider the second reading of the Code of Conduct for council members.

Purchasing supplies, equipment and services locally is the focus of a proposed ordinance increasing the preference for same, a way to help boost area employment as well as the city’s sales tax base.

The council will also consider settling litigation with the Ventura County Professional Firefighters Association, which represents Santa Paula Fire Department’s full-time firefighters, who were at loggerheads with administration over overtime staffing. 

In March the VCPFA filed a lawsuit arising out of comments made in an email from city Human Resources Manager Lorena Alvarez that certain grant funded firefighter positions, upon their vacancy, would remain open and would be backfilled with reserve firefighters. VCPFA alleged that the email violated the “classified relief” provision in the city’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with VCPFA. VCPFA named the City, City Manager Fontes, Alvarez and Fire Chief Rick Araiza as defendants. Among other things, VCPFA sought damages in excess of $25,000 for lost shifts and overtime as well as attorneys’ fees.

According to the staff report, “The City already had a practice of attempting to fill vacant positions regularly staffed by full-time firefighters with other full-time firefighters. The settlement agreement commits the City to department staffing policies that are currently applied at the captain and engineer ranks. The City, however, retains its management authority to hire and lay off employees and otherwise set staffing levels. For its part, VCPFA has agreed to give up its claim for monetary compensation arising out of this dispute, whether in the form of damages or attorneys’ fees.”

The settlement, if approved by the council, will not result in the outlay of funds by the city. 

“The settlement agreement merely confirms pre-existing City staffing practices,” notes the staff report. “It requires no payment of money by the City. Because the settlement confirms current Fire Department practice regarding the use of full-time officers, there should not be an increase in the payment of overtime.”

City Hall is located at 970 E. Ventura St.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.