Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/16/2010 05:40:45 PM PST

A proposal to cap vacation, holiday and administrative accrual time for San Bernardino County’s non-union employees got unanimous approval Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

It ends a long-standing practice of the county’s allowing of exempt employees – or those not represented by labor unions – to bank administrative, vacation and holiday time and let it roll over year after year.

“I think it’s a first step towards bringing the county in line with private sector standards, and bringing exempt employees in line with rank-and-file employees who already have a cap on how much they can accrue,” said Supervisor Neil Derry, who proposed the ordinance.

Derry’s proposed ordinance returns to the board on Dec. 7 for a second reading, then takes effect the first pay period of 2011.

The measure will convert the county’s administrative leave benefit to a use-it-or-lose-it system and cap the number of time employees can bank for vacation and holiday time at 480 and 112 hours, respectively. Employees already in excess of these limits will be capped at their current amount.

In addition, exempt employees, under the new ordinance, would be allowed a one-time cash-out option of up to 80 hours of administrative leave time.

Derry, however, will continue the practice of not allowing his staff to cash out unused leave time.

“Excessive abuse of perks and benefits foster a sense of disconnectedness between the public and their government,” Derry said in a statement Tuesday. “Bringing government pay and benefits into parity with the private sector is necessary to rebuilding public trust and approval.”

Elimination of the annual administrative leave cash out provision will save the county an estimated $1.7 million a year.

In other board news:

* The board adopted an ordinance that will change County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux’s title to Chief Executive Officer. The change is aimed at clarifying the roles and functions between the chief executive officer and elected officials of board-appointed department heads. The ordinance includes a non-interference clause prohibiting the Board of Supervisors from ordering or giving instruction to Devereaux’s staff, either in public or in private.

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