The Painted Lady butterfly migration has reached Diamond Valley Lake!  Photo by Bill Wagner
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
March 18, 2019
Metropolitan's Persian American Employee Organization extends its warmest greetings to employees and wishes everyone a happy Persian New Year or "Nowruz" on March 20.
Years in the Making to Protect CRA Right-of-Way
Last week, the nation’s largest public lands bill in more than a decade was signed into law.

One piece of the 100-bill federal package is the result of years of work by a Metropolitan team that includes current and former employees Bryan Otake, Brad Hiltscher, Pete Wiseman, John Clairday and Joe Vanderhorst to protect our Colorado River Aqueduct right-of-way.

In 1932, Congress gave Metropolitan ownership of land to construct and operate the CRA and related facilities with the caveat that the ownership would revert back to the government if Met stopped using the land for those purposes. But Congress did not direct the Dept. of the Interior to create the legal documents needed to protect our ownership rights. That has created confusion over the years about the title to these lands and clouded the ability to protect CRA facilities from trespassing and encroachments.

Pete Wiseman , former manager of the Geodetics and Mapping Team, who led this effort over the past 10 years said, “For the first time in over eight decades, Metropolitan has complete control over the 72,000 acres granted by the 1932 Act.”

Patti Arlt , one of Met’s government representatives, was in Washington, DC last week with Inland Empire officials and met one of the co-authors, Congressman Paul Cook. “He was very excited this landmark set of bills had become law,” Patti says adding, “he even showed us one of the pens the president used to sign the legislation."

The measures also creates the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Act. Government reps Christine Frey and Jacque McMillan were also in the nation's capital last week and met with Congressman Garamendi, who authored that bill.
And the Winner is...
Met's HR Department
Most of us don’t think about retirement plans on a day- to-day basis. But making sure employees make sound investment and retirement decisions is a high priority for Metropolitan's HR staff.

And they are doing it extremely well, according to one national organization. Last week, Met won first place in the Eddy Awards, which honors the nation’s best practices in investment and financial education.

Metropolitan won in the Public Pension Plans category for communication about the recent conversion to Empower Retirement, which manages our 401(k) and 457(b) plans.

Carmondy Breaux-Burns, Benefits Manager and Mayra Ravelo , Senior Benefits Analyst accepted the award (see photo above). “We were recognized for our efforts to communicate and educate all participants on what to expect during the transition to a new plan administrator, the plan's enhancements, and most of all the value of staying in the plan,” said Carmondy . ”

All Metropolitan staff are eligible to participate in our employer-sponsored 401(k) and/or 457(b) plans and can start with pre-tax contributions as little as $1 per pay period.

More information is at or by calling 833-693-7622.

“Our benefits staff understands the importance of educating our employees and hosting seminars on retirement planning no matter where you are in your career,” said HR Group Manager Diane Pitman.

This year, 66 organizations were honored in the national competition. Award categories include financial wellness, education and pre-retirement preparation.

Link to press release is here .
"Sal the Avatar "- Keeping Communities in the Know
Sal Vazquez has held many important jobs at Metropolitan in the past 32 years, including government relations manager and program manager. But he never quite imagined his new role as an Avatar Guide for a new digital communications app to support community outreach on construction projects.

Since the app has launched, Sal has been enthusiastically sharing it with others:

Text the word ‘BRISTOL’ to 90407 to be introduced to ‘Sal,’ the new Avatar Guide for the Orange County Feeder Relining Project. You can also get information by scanning a QR code on project materials or at

The app enhances Met's traditional and well-respected community outreach work on construction and repair projects by providing instant updates, maps, road closures, and contact information. The first use of this tech-based outreach is for work that's happening along the Bristol Corridor in Santa Ana.

Sal knows technology is the wave of the future and is a champion of these new digital technologies . He’ll talk more about this work at a Lunch and Learn Presentation this Tuesday, March 19 in US2-145.

But Sal also understands the importance of talking face-to-face with the public. He's been given the nickname the People Whisperer” by some colleagues because of the way he creates a positive environment in difficult situations, listens and solves problems for homeowners and businesses impacted by our shutdowns and work projects.

For fun, Sal practices “shutter therapy” by walking the city streets and taking stunning photographs. He’s a great follow on Instagram @waterman4711 . He also loves golfing and mentoring young people.    
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.   
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