Saturday, January 1, 2011 – 08:00 p.m.

Many of San Bernardino County’s elected officials have decided not to forgo their pay increases.

Even though the county is looking at millions of dollars in new budget cuts this year and most employees have already voted to cancel previously negotiated raises.

Currently three of five county supervisors have decided to forgo a 1% salary increase as prescribed by Charter Measure P.

The breakdown as to which supes accepted and who declined is currently unknown.

However, all four countywide elected officials have decided to keep a maximum allowed 4% pay raise prescribed under Charter Measure K.

Why? They’re not happy about their benefit packages being rolled back to pre-June 2007 levels.

Apparently a costly sore spot.

Sources tell that District Attorney Mike Ramos, Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator Rod Hoops, Assessor-Recorder Dennis Draeger and Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector Larry Walker won’t give up their raises.

Draeger also assumes the Recorder title this month from Walker. With the new title he will receive $20,000 in additional salary.

In Spring 2009, Third District Supervisor Neil Derry pushed through an amendment to the Exempt Compensation Ordinance that partially restored elected official benefits to 2007 levels.

A move which caused Derry resentment among his fellow colleagues.

The package of enhancements in question, which was pushed through by former Second District Supervisor Paul Biane, rained rich benefit increases on elected officials by granting them high-priced medical coverage, increased taxpayer contributions to 401(K) style retirement accounts to the maximum allowed under federal law, increased the automobile allowance to $1,200 per month, and created a cellular communications allowance of $200 per month.

The reductions approved last year are effective when an official assumes a new term of office.

Thus the changes not only apply to the aforementioned officials, who assume new terms of office this week, but Supervisors Gary Ovitt and Janice Rutherford as well.

Both Ovitt and Rutherford started new terms last month.

When he ran for office, Derry campaigned on a platform to stop such excesses. He refused to accept the increased benefits when he assumed office in December 2008.

No longer available is a high-end health insurance plan costing taxpayers upwards of $30,000 per year for each official insuring more than two people. Now the affected officials have the same health benefits as exempt managers.

Also changing is the $16,500 annual contribution to the county’s 401(K) plan. It’s being reduced back to the previous level of 5% of salary.

The officials in question don’t seem to be concerned about creating a stigma with the public or more importantly setting an example for the rest of the county workforce.

This year, the county is likely to once again ask employees to make further economic sacrifices. And any type of entitlement attitude by officials won’t likely go over well.

If anyone knows San Bernardino County management culture, the phrases “more is always better and less is unheard of” or “Do as I say, not as I do.” describe the attitude.

Well now we have a perfect example.