The Dublin San Ramon Services District should first aim to provide residents quality water and sewer service in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

But district planning starts with the assumption that salaries will automatically increase annually by the amount of the Consumer Price Index, and so will rates. It's the wrong mindset -- and it needs to change.

That means development of long-range operating budgets and re-examining how salaries and benefits are set as well as seriously pursuing consolidation of the inefficient patchwork of water and sewer districts that cover the Tri-Valley.

The change must start with the board of directors. If voters want cost-conscious leadership, they need to elect new representatives. Four candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three open seats.

We're impressed by the two challengers: Scott Hayes, an MBA, has obviously been seriously thinking about these critical issues. He raises excellent questions about the status quo and provides well-reasoned options.

Similarly, Edward Duarte, a civil engineer who owns a company that specializes in water treatment plants, challenges assumptions the incumbents just accept.


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We were disappointed by how quickly the incumbents defend current practices. That was especially so for Dwight Howard, a retired mechanical engineer. He has the wrong mindset for effecting change. Incumbent Rich Halket seems more open to change, which is why we recommend him for the third seat.