Tuesday, September 28, 2010 – 11:00 a.m.
Last Updated: September 28, 2010 – 12:50 p.m.

Today, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors received a message from their chief legal counsel.

The finger.

County Counsel Ruth Stringer, who has been expected to announce her departure from county government, appears to have had a change of heart.

A change of heart which seems to possibly have shifted from departure by retirement to ‘fire me’.

A most likely financially-driven decision. After all, when you can screw the taxpayers, why not!

Stringer currently draws an annual base salary of $230,117.04 plus benefits, and has a total compensation package well over $300,000 per year.

In December 2009, the current board increased Stringer’s severance clause from six months to one year by ordinance and now she appears desirous to cash in.

The amount of Stringer’s compensation which factors into her pension formula is north of $291,000.

Hypothetically speaking, a person who is sixty years of age with thirty years of service credit, would draw a pension equal to seventy-five percent of their earnable compensation for purposes of retirement.

30 years x 2.5% per year of service = 75% x $300,000. At age 64 the retiree would receive 3.0% for each year of service credit.

Meaning a pension in the area of $220,000 per year forever. Stringer would also receive annual cost-of-living increases of up to 2%.

The ‘earnable compensation for retirement’ calculation for Ms. Stringer consists of the following.

Base salary                     $ 230,117.04
Auto Allowance                  $  14,200.00
Cell Phone Allowance            $   2,400.00
Benefit Plan                    $   6,000.00
Excess Retirement Allowance     $    Unknown
Leave Cash-out (352 Hours Max)  $  38,941.76
Total                           $ 291,858.80

Looks like county taxpayers will be on the hook for a nice golden parachute payable to Stringer. A parachute in the form of an additional year on county payroll, followed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in unused leave cash-outs, and then a hefty pension.