BY IMRAN GHORI
STAFF WRITER
ighori@pe.com

Published: 14 November 2011 08:14 PM

San Bernardino County supervisors will consider a proposal today to cut their own benefits by 20 percent, rolling back compensation that came under criticism from the civil grand jury.

Supervisor Janice Rutherford, who is proposing the change, said she asked the county administrative office for a survey of other supervisors’ benefits in the region after the grand jury report was released in July. The report criticized board benefits as “very generous” and much higher than other counties.

The survey found that San Bernardino County’s salary and benefits for supervisors are the second highest among seven Southern California counties, exceeded only by Los Angeles County.

In addition to an annual salary of $151,971 – set by Measure P in 2006 – supervisors receive about $121,000 a year in health, retirement and other benefits. Under Rutherford’s proposal, their benefits would be reduced by $54,000.

“We realized we’re pretty far out of whack in terms of compensation as the grand jury said,” Rutherford said. “In these tough times, when we’re asking employees to do more with less, we have to lead by example.”

The survey found that supervisors receive multiple retirement benefits that other counties don’t provide with the county picking up about $24,000 of supervisors retirement contributions while also offering deferred compensation and 401(k) plans.

Those contributions would be eliminated along with county paid life insurance, long-term disability and medical expense reimbursement. Supervisors also would no longer receive a $2,400 communications device allowance.

“Everybody and their neighbor has cell phones or smart phones these days and nobody else has the luxury of taxpayers paying for them,” Rutherford said.

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