BY IMRAN GHORI
Published: 04 October 2011 08:48 PM
San Bernardino County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux is facing fallout over remarks two supervisors say mischaracterize their opposition to his budget plan.
Supervisors Neil Derry and Brad Mitzelfelt also called it inappropriate for Devereaux to veer into politics in a speech before the Fontana Rotary Club on Monday where he mentioned upcoming supervisorial elections.
“It is inappropriate for any administrative officer to make public comments about the public elections of board members,” Derry said Tuesday.
In his speech about the fiscal challenges the county is facing in the coming years, Devereaux praised Board Chairwoman Josie Gonzales and Supervisors Janice Rutherford and Gary Ovitt for their votes approving his budget plan in June. Mitzelfelt voted against the plan and Derry abstained.
Devereaux described the board as favoring those fiscal policies on a “narrow margin” and said next year’s elections, when Derry, Gonzales and Mitzelfelt’s terms expire, “will decide whether we really change direction or slide back to the way it used to be done.”
In his budget plan, Devereaux has asked employees to accept cuts to health and retirement benefits and give up salary increases. With county expenses expected to outpace revenues due to rising pension costs and employee salaries and benefits, Devereaux said the county’s only other option is to cut public safety.
Although some employee groups have agreed to the concessions, the two largest have not, leaving the issue unresolved with more budget cuts possible in November if no agreement is reached.
Derry said his top two priorities have been fair and open negotiations with employee groups and protecting public safety.
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