10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, June 2, 2011

By DUG BEGLEY
The Press-Enterprise

A bill by Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, to disqualify elected officials indicted in criminal corruption probes from regional boards gained the support of San Bernardino Associated Governments this week.

SANBAG, which faced losing federal funds under a process called debarment because San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry was charged in a fraud complaint because of allegedly improper campaign donations, unanimously backed Cook’s bill on Wednesday.

But in giving their support, officials said the law could be improved to make sure it covered county supervisors, who are more difficult to remove from regional boards. Though cities often appoint one of five or seven council members to the board, agencies such as SANBAG automatically have a seat for the five county supervisors.

The federal government can withhold money from agencies with a member under indictment or charged with money or corruption-related allegations.

Derry technically remains a SANBAG member, but he has suspended himself from participating in any discussions since he was charged in late April with perjury and filing a false report.

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