Alameda County Water District Director to retire in July

FREMONT – Robert Shaver, general manager of the Alameda County Water District, which serves about 350,000 people in Fremont, Newark and Union City, will retire on July 1, the district said this week.

Shaver has been at the helm for six years and will have worked in the district for 30 years when he retires, having started as an engineer, he said in an interview on Tuesday.

“It’s a tough decision for me because when is the right time to step away? But I feel pretty good about the current situation in the district, ”Shaver said.

He is pleased with the progress the district has made on some major projects, including a near-completed restoration of the fishery at Alameda Creek, which includes the construction of two fish ladders, among other measures to support endangered rainbow trout. .

The district is in the early stages of rolling out an advanced metering project, which will allow customers to more closely monitor their water usage, Shaver said.

In partnership with other public agencies and nonprofits, the district is also in negotiations to potentially purchase the property of the 50,500-acre N3 Cattle Company ranch that spans four counties, in a bid to protect the essential water supply.

When Shaver took over as chief executive in 2014, the state was entering one of the worst droughts on record, and this had an impact on the district’s finances, he said, he said. strived to straighten out.

“What is important to me is that I hand over the keys to my successor with an agency that is in good financial health,” he said.

But customers weren’t always happy with the way the neighborhood balanced its books.

The district has increased customer rates almost every year for more than two decades, and some double-digit increases in recent years have sparked controversy, with some residents saying the district’s allowances for employees are too generous.

Shaver has championed the increases needed to attract and retain a skilled workforce, maintain and modernize much of the district’s 900 miles of water pipes, and to repay an estimated $ 120 million in debt over the 15 coming years.

In the current fiscal year, the district is spending about $ 52.7 million, or about 32% of its general fund, on salaries, pensions and benefits, according to spokesperson Sharene Gonzales.

The district council voted in December not to increase customer rates this year due to the pandemic.

Shaver’s current total compensation, including salary and benefits, is around $ 410,000 per year, and district staff have estimated he will be paid around $ 232,000 per year after his retirement, said Gonzales.

The district administration board will recruit a new general manager and has hired a consultant to help find candidates, the district said.

Daniel E. Murphy