Supervisors Make First Move To Cut Their Own “Overly Generous” Benefits

In an apparent response to the grand jury’s characterization of San Bernardino County supervisors’ benefits as “overly generous,” supervisors this week took a step toward reducing by 20 percent the $121,000 a year in health, retirement and other benefits they receive in addition to their $151,971 salaries.

The cut was not actually made, but the board of supervisors directed staff to draft an ordinance to that effect which will come back for their consideration in January or February 2012.

The proposal to make the reduction was floated by supervisor Janice Rutherford, who said she wanted to end “all county pickups of supervisor retirement contributions, county retirement medical trust fund contributions, county salary savings plans matches and supplemental contributions, county paid life insurance and variable group universal life insurance, long term disability insurance, medical expense flexible spending account matches, and portable communication device allowances.”

Rutherford said “Eliminating these benefits would reduce the total annual compensation that is available to board members by almost 20 percent ($54,000), to approximately $219,000. Implementation of the proposed ordinance would place supervisors’ compensation at a level comparable with the total compensation for supervisors in Riverside, Orange, and San Diego counties.

Rutherford said the reductions would serve the purpose of having the supervisors “lead by example” as county executive officer Greg Devereaux pushes county employee unions to accept reductions in the benefit packages provided to their members.

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