The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

June 18, 2010
Update: Flood agency mum about raise rumors

This blog previously reported our efforts to find out if the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency was about to give large compensation increases for its staff members. The agency is governed by representatives from several local government bodies and is mainly funded by the state. Government employees are suffering from furloughs and layoffs in the continuing economic malaise (as Sacramento County's grim numbers below show.)

As of Friday afternoon, the agency's executive director, Stein Buer, and its external press representative, Barbara Gualco of Gualco Consulting, still declined to respond to direct questions about possible compensation changes that may have been approved at the $279 million agency's Thursday board meeting although they were nowhere to be seen on the agenda. layoffs graphic.JPG

Also on Friday, The Bee attempted to contact all of the agency's board members, so far without success, except in one case: Virginia Moose of the American River Flood Control District declined to comment.

"If [Buer and Gualco] are refusing to speak to you about it, I'm not going to either. It's not my place to do that," she said. "You'll have to try to try to convince them to talk to you about it."

SAFCA's silence is unusual for a public agency, which is legally obligated to make its policies and salary data available on request. The recent approach follows an episode last spring, when Buer had proposed raises of up to 51 percent for nine employees despite the economic crisis. His board turned him down after The Bee reported the plan. But it gave Buer a 27 percent boost, to $195,000 annually.

The agency was created in 1989 to help prevent flooding from the Sacramento and American rivers. Here are its other board members, who could not be reached as of Friday afternoon:

Ray Tretheway, SAFCA Chair and member, Sacramento City Council
John Shiels, SAFCA Vice Chairman, Reclamation District 1000
Roger Dickinson, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Jimmie Yee, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Susan Peters, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Don Nottoli, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Roberta MacGlashan, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors
Brian Holloway, American River Flood Control District
James Gallagher, Sutter County Board of Supervisors
Jeff Smith, Reclamation District 1000
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson
Bonnie Pannell, Sacramento City Council

- Charles Piller

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Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at:

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