Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011-11-16 "Repeal the MPRPD 2004 Assessment Tax on Monterey Peninsula" by Lawrence Samuels, Vice Chair for the "Seaside Taxpayers Association (STA)"
The Seaside Taxpayers Association is spearheading the drive to repeal the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD) 2004 assessment tax. We need funds to pay an attorney to write the ballot measure. You probably saw the Monterey Herald story by Peter Baird about the mismanagement of the MPRPD; how its former general manager made around $350,000 a year for overseeing 16 employees, more than what the California governor makes. And if the MPRPD general manager lives to 85 years of age, he will get over $6.8 million in taxpayer-funded retirement benefits.
It is time to recall the MPRPD tax and pressure them to merge with Monterey County Parks!
Please donate to Seaside Taxpayers Association. Send the check to our president, Eugene Lee at 1175 Yosemite, Seaside, CA 93955. We will only cash it if we get enough money to pay the $2,000 retainer fee.Thank you!

2010-12-06 "Peter A. Baird: Park board spends your money freely" by PETER A. BAIRD
Monterey Herald Guest Commentary

Peter Baird, a real estate broker, has chaired the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the Monterey Peninsula College Bond Oversight Committee. He has a degree in parks and resources.
For those of you whose blood pressure rose when reading about the extraordinarily high salary of Joseph Donofrio, general manager of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, you may be interested to know that the park board hasn't finished giving away your tax dollars.
To refresh our memories, Donofrio, with a salary and benefits package totaling $349,356, was the highest paid local government executive upon his retirement this fall.
By way of comparison, Lew Bauman, Monterey County administrative officer, receives $230,298 to oversee a $1 billion budget and 4,600 employees. Donofrio received 51 percent more for overseeing 16 employees.
But the most significant aspect of the board's continuing generosity is not the salary, but rather the cumulative future impact to taxpayers. He is retired now at 58, with the understanding that he will receive in retirement his full salary plus cost-of-living increases.
Assuming he lives to 85, he will be receiving at least $375,000 per year, excluding benefits that include full dental and medical insurance for life. We will have paid this one man more than $6,880,000.
There are many unanswered questions for the park board. Toward retirement, many public agencies allow employees to accrue 2 percent of their salary for every year worked and to retire at 60. What compelled the board during Donofrio's tenure to increase the formula for him to 2.7 percent and to decrease the minimum retirement age to 55?
Why was his salary increased annually at a rate of between 3 percent to 5 percent? How many local governments pay one employee a salary 146 percent higher than the next highest paid employee?
Who convinced the board to pay 100 percent of his 457 deferred comp plan, a benefit afforded to no other employee?
Meanwhile, when it was announced at a recent board meeting that Donofrio was retiring, what wasn't announced was his final agreement with the board.
Instead of holding off on retirement until a replacement could be found, he retired and formed a company, Administrative Management Services, to act as a full-time management consultant at a rate equal to $130 an hour, or $270,000 annually. On top of his retirement pay of at least $167,000.
The board would note that the consulting contract is only for six months, but that's hardly the point. Was the public outcry over his compensation not heard by the board when it surfaced in previous years? Could they somehow believe this doubling of income during his tenure was appropriate? Whatever happened to the concept of best practices? What happened to the courtesy of accountability and elected public servants asking their constituents what they think?
I would submit that if the board wished to heap such inflated benefits onto Donofrio's plate, at the very least it should consider the cupboard dry for anything else. Evidently, that's not the case, since 80 percent of the board accepts the elective fee for attending board meetings.
Perhaps they should serve on the board of a nonprofit, such as Meals on Wheels or the Kinship Center, and see how much those hardworking board members are earning.
In case we've forgotten, a majority of retired Americans rely on nothing more than Social Security, for which there will be no cost-of-living increase this year. If Donofrio receives only a basic 3 percent increase in his first year of retirement, it will amount to a $5,000 raise.
I am asking the following:
1. That the district form a public committee to offer input into the selection of the new director, including the salary and benefits package. I propose that such a committee also seek ways to make this agency much more transparent.
2. That the board immediately terminate the consulting contract.
3. That board members decline their stipends.
4. Finally, even though this board has certainly done some good things during its tenure, it has earned a vote of no confidence. Board members should step down. A fresh start would be healthful for the district, and far better than the recommendation of the 1998 grand jury, which said the district should be disbanded and taken over by the Monterey County Parks Department.
If you share my concerns, send an e-mail message to the board chair at, along with a copy to Supervisor Dave Potter at, and attend the next MPRPD board meeting, 6:30 p.m. Monday (Dec. 6) at Seaside City Hall.

No comments:

Post a Comment