Bristol County Water Authority board balks at 5-percent raise for director


Before the board of directors approves a $6,200 salary increase for the Bristol County Water Authority executive director, members of the board want to see if, in the year that Pamela Marchand has held the post, she has earned the proposed 5 percent raise.

At a meeting last week, the board did not make a decision on the raise, nor on a request to hire a new $100,000-per-year engineer.

Upon hiring Ms. Marchand last year, the board approved her starting salary of approximately $125,000, plus a generous benefit package, including the use of a BCWA vehicle. In the top spot, Ms. Marchand would act as the Authority’s executive director and chief engineer.

While her role as executive director was not scrutinized, Frank Sylvia, Bristol’s representative on the BCWA board, did question her capacity as chief engineer, and what she accomplished in the past year in that capacity.

Ms. Marchand defended her role as chief engineer first by explaining the function of a chief engineer.

“Chief engineer means you oversee the engineers. It doesn’t mean you do the work of an engineer,” Ms. Marchand said.

Secondly she said that her expertise in engineering had applications in developing the BCWA’s 20-year capital plan, infrastructure review, bond financing and strategic planning. She did not, however, cite any instances where she affixed her engineering stamp on any projects.

The board asked for a more detailed breakdown of salary and benefits before acting on Ms. Marchand’s raise. Board member Raymond Palmeri also questioned the hefty raise.

“I’m not comfortable voting for something that pays the executive director more than the governor of the state of Rhode Island,” he said.

Hiring a new engineer?

At the same time, the board balked at Ms. Marchand’s request to hire an engineering project manager whose compensation package would be approximately $100,000.

“A lot of work for this position is what Pam was supposed to be doing,” said Mr. Palmeri. “I see a lot of overlap. I’d hate to see another manager position.”

Ms. Marchand said that the position would be necessary in order to complete the aggressive project list, including the Poppasquash Road upgrades, that are planned. The position, she said, was already budgeted.

“Just because it’s in the budget it doesn’t mean you have to spend it,” said Mr. Sylvia.


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Nard Glimrod

Dear Bristol County Water Authority Board:

Please continue to balk.


The Entire East Bay

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 | Report this

If there is to be financial compensation for performance, it should be a one time bonus based on results measured against goals set earlier in the year.

A permanent raise right after a rate increase is out of the question. The reality is that water production responsibilities have been reduced to near zero, an operations manager was hired to take on some of the execs responsibilities, and a new project engineer is being hired, also to take on some of the exec's responsibilities.

A one time bonus should be considered, but only after measuring the past years accomplishments.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | Report this
Jack Baillargeron

How about BS and NO, instead of Balk. 1 Year for one thing is not a true measurement of anything but the fact they have currently made plans. We can't know any of this until jobs have been completed and whether there was a good contracts written for projects and if cost overruns happened due to ineptness etc. Same with these new Labor cost coming up, budget, lawsuits, etc. Not to mention, no one is getting over 5% raises in years.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | Report this
Jack Baillargeron

On another note. Was not she hired for a multi year contract? Is this raise in that contract for a raise every year, since no one had seen the contract I believe? Should any raise be considered on the renewal of the contract? Even sports figures do not get raises in the course of their multi year contracts, not do CEO's of major companies, with out set goals they must accomplish in their contracts. If she does not have this in here contract then the Board should follow the contract period.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | Report this

It is inspiring and uplifting to see that this ridiculous raise is being questioned. Good job Ray and Frank! This woman was hired at $125,000 to do TWO jobs, director AND Chief engineer. No sooner had the ink dried on the contract and she was saying that it was too much work for her and BCWA would have to hire another engineer! I would hope that the board of directors will stand firm on this. Most people were hoping/thinking that there would actually be a request for salary CUT when she said the job was too much for her as described in the job description.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | Report this
comn sense

Let's not give the raise, and then see if she leaves.

I seem to recall there were other highly qualified candidates when she was hired.

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | Report this

She is rude, obnoxious and why can't she do her work? Hiring another engineer (someone she knows) is ridiculous. How many of her friends and their children is the board going to let her hire?

Things never change.

Thursday, September 26, 2013 | Report this

That is because the operational manager is her "Friend" and needed a high paying job for three years to pad his pension. Pension is based off of the three highest consecutive years.

Thursday, September 26, 2013 | Report this

Since when do people care about qualified people being hired at the BCWA. I never viewed any job postings for Operational Manager??? She hired her "FRIEND" for the job. You can be that the new engineer will be someone she knows.

Thursday, September 26, 2013 | Report this

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