San Bernardino County announced last Friday that it was delaying a planned budget workshop for another month.

For a county that has been asleep at the switch in closing an estimated budget shortfall of $90 million-plus in its upcoming fiscal year is anyone surprised?

Neighboring Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego Counties have at least been continually taking budget reduction steps in an effort to keep their respective situations manageable.

Inside sources in San Bernardino County are indicating the plan there is no significant personnel reductions, but let current employees defer negotiated salary increases for a second year in a row. Deferrals that must become permanent concessions after existing contracts expire.

What a facade.

The county is apparently is gambling on perceived weak leadership within union ranks. Sources also indicate the management of the San Bernardino Public Employees Association (SBPEA), the county’s largest bargaining group, has already bought off on the continued freeze.

Ultimately, the county has to reduce its labor-related expenses from current levels, either by salary and benefit reductions or layoffs. Reduced union membership counts also puts pressure on the operating budgets of each employee Association.

Employees will ultimately be pressured to give up ground that took years to attain and will take possibly a decade to recover from.