Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 11/13/2011 02:44:14 PM PST

San Bernardino County Supervisor Janice Rutherford is proposing a 20 percent cut to supervisor’s benefits, bringing their total compensation to a level comparable to supervisors in Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties.

Rutherford’s proposed ordinace goes before the board on Tuesday, when it will decide whether to direct county administrators and attorneys to begin preparing an ordinance.

It’s not the first time a county supervisor has proposed cutting their own benefits.

In 2009, Supervisor Neil Derry proposed a cut in medical and retirement benefits for supervisors, which the board approved. It resulted in a savings of roughly $147,000 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, and savings are expected to grow in coming years.

But that didn’t stave off criticism that supervisors were still getting too many perks.

In its annual report released on June 30, the Grand Jury determined supervisors still have very generous benefits packages compared to supervisors in neighboring counties. The Grand Jury noted that one supervisor’s retirement benefits exceeded $85,000 annually, and that supervisors as a whole were enrolled in more retirement plans than supervisors in Riverside, Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties.

It prompted Rutherford to start researching the matter further. She learned supervisors in San Bernardino County receive the second highest total compensation among seven Southern California counties, according to a report prepared for the board.

“I started realizing our overall compensation package is way too rich,” Rutherford said Friday. “We need to do the right thing by the taxpayers, and we need to demonstrate leadership.”

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