The Suffolk Water Authority board has unanimously approved a 4.2 percent rate increase, after a public hearing where only one speaker testified – the head of the employee union.

The new rate hike, which will generate about $4 million annually, will take effect June 1. It will raise the average customer’s current $306 annual bill by about $12 for 160,000 gallons of water. Authority officials say the rate increase is needed to pay higher pension, health and union costs despite cutbacks in staff and capital spending. They said their rates are among the lowest in the nation.

Here. The lone person testifying is a union representative. The water authority agrees to a rate increase.  Cause and effect?  What’s worse, as the union rep pointed out, the authority hired three people with dubious ties and responsibilities.