Initiative To Reduce Supervisors’ Pay & Hold Them To One Term Resurfaces

A group of political reformers are now circulating a petition that would give county voters the opportunity to reduce the total remuneration of the members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors to roughly a fourth of what they are now receiving in pay and benefits, while restricting them to a single elected four-year term.
Nadia S. Renner, a Fontana resident and member of the Red Brennan Group has notified the county election office of the group’s intent to circulate the petition within the County of San Bernardino for the purpose of amending the county charter. If the measure is qualified to go on the ballot, presumably in November 2020, and passed by a simple majority of the county’s voters, it would “limit total compensation for the supervisor position to $60,000 per year [and] limit an elected supervisor’s time in office to one, four-year term.”
According to Renner, “This initiative will alter the San Bernardino County Charter to outline the terms of office for the county supervisor position, including the duties, compensation and limitations that apply to the office.”
Renner said reducing supervisors to four years in office and the level of their pay to something approximating that of the average San Bernardino County resident “will collectively ensure those elected to the office of county supervisor serve the people of the county as public servants. By setting compensation near the median household income in the county and limiting service to one term the supervisors will be fairly compensated for the work they do without being artificially insulated from the financial pressures that impact most county residents. The term limit will ensure that their actions will be guided by a focused perception of how best to serve the public interest rather than the powerful financial imperatives that drive reelection campaigns.”
The Red Brennan Group is composed of several individuals who were associated with the late tax reduction and government reform advocate Kiernan Brennan, who in 2012 sponsored a similar supervisors compensation reduction measure which was passed by the voters but did not go into effect because the board of supervisors put on the same ballot a competing “reform” measure that passed by a wider margin. The supervisors-sponsored initiative maintained the supervisors’ salaries while reducing their benefits by $5,000 per year, as opposed to the far more stringent $90,000 pay-and-benefit reduction contained in Brennan’s measure.
“The people have a right to expect delivery of services at a reasonable value, affirmative control of costs, and careful consideration of long term expenditures so future generations are not saddled with debt,” Renner said. “Instead, the board of supervisors has increasingly shunted its responsibilities to a non-elected county chief executive officer. The supervisors have cut their required meetings from once weekly to once every two weeks while at the same time putting deceptive measures before the voters to increase their own compensation. Consequently, residents are confronted with increased spending, more taxes, and greater fees as the county bureaucracy balloons ever larger.”
Renner said, “We can do better. This initiative will attract a different type of person to elected service – a true citizen-representative committed to public service who is willing to share the economic conditions under which most normal county residents work and live.”
The county’s in-house attorneys, known as the office of county counsel, after examining the Red Brennan Groups proposed initiative, prepared a title for the measure: “The San Bernardino County Supervisor Compensation Reduction and Term Limit Initiative.”
The office of county counsel further offered this summery of the measure: “Changes the term limit for the elected office of county supervisor from three consecutive terms to one term. Requires that no person shall be elected and qualified for the office of member of the board of supervisors if such person has been elected or served in such office for one term. The limitation on term shall commence with any term of office that begins in December 2020. The limitation on term shall not apply to any unexpired term to which a person is elected or appointed if the remainder of the unexpired term to which a person is elected or appointed is less than one-half of the full four-year term of office. Establishes the maximum compensation of each county supervisor to a total amount of $5,000 per month. Actual cost to the county of all county supervisor benefits, including, but not limited to, salary, allowances, credit cards, health insurance, life insurance, leave, retirement, memberships, portable communication devices, and vehicle allowances, shall be included in the $5,000.”

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