Supervisor Neil Derry

Monday, January 10, 2011 – 11:00 a.m.

It’s been an interesting first two years for San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry.

A supervisor, who has no problem pissing-off his colleagues anytime he sees fit to do so.

He’s a man who’s unapologetic for doing as much.

Derry, a former U.S. Marine and San Bernardino City Councilman, represents the County’s conservative Third District. An area covering the eastern San Bernardino Valley, most of the Mountain Communities and Morongo Basin.

From the instant Derry assumed the role of county supervisor he was already going against the grain and arrogance instilled within county government. And San Bernardino County is nothing like its neighbors.

Always in the news, San Bernardino County politics never seems to enjoy any peaceful coexistence.

Derry knew what he wanted to do with county government in order to change the way business was accomplished.

However he just didn’t know how bad things were until he arrived.

He’s been known to say “You never told me it was this bad.” on more than one occasion.

For a county with a ‘make no waves’ mentality, the art of cover-up was and still is somewhat in practice.

Derry has taken highly unpopular positions on issues such as the elimination of county-paid judicial benefits, unnecessary take-home vehicles, and lavish benefits for elected officials.

Additionally, Derry has advocated for the formation of an ethics commission to monitor the conduct of county government officials. A commission with the ability to sanction, levy financial penalties, and make referrals to outside authorities.

Hoever, Derry’s positions have proven overwhelmingly popular within his own district. Derry constantly receives praise and gratitude from his constituents and the dozens of meetings he attends each and every month. He tells residents in attendance what’s happening in the county and he holds nothing back.

His style appears to be well received. The voters like a fighter against the status quo and they found one in Derry.

Derry’s successes have come with behind the scenes back-stabbing and criticism’s from his colleagues, with the exception of First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt.

Mitzelfelt has for the most part has supported Derry’s agenda. The remainder of the board has mostly fought Derry behind the scenes, only to grudgingly vote for an issue in front of the public and press, and then complain about it later.

Supervisor and current board chair Gary Ovitt has even lent some support, joining Derry and Mitzelfelt on replacement of the former chief executive and county counsel.

Nevertheless, it’s been a tough go for Derry in trying to open the eyes of his fellow supervisors.

Something that is likely to continue.

But, Derry says he will continue pushing for positive change and open government, and will continue to hold out an olive branch to his comrades in hopes they will embrace the change he envisions.