Wednesday, December 21, 2011 – 11:00 a.m.

A stark contrast has emerged between San Bernardino County and neighboring Riverside this week.

A contrast in how each county deals with collective bargaining and budgeting.

Yesterday, Riverside County supervisors approved a new 4-year collective bargaining agreement with the union representing 350-plus deputy district attorney’s.

The agreement requires the county workers to pay 8-percent towards their retirement, while receiving cost of living adjustments of 7-percent over the same period.

The ability for Riverside County to offset is due purely to heavy cost cutting and workforce reductions over the past 36-months.

San Bernardino County, not known for paying competitive wages to rank and file employees, on the other hand, is ramming 7 to 12 percent reductions down employees throats.

A heavy-handed tactic resulting from lackadaisical budgeting, economic denial, and the refusal to reduce the counties ballooning full-time workforce.

The term “Banana Republic” actually may be appropriate here.

One has to wonder what county leaders have been thinking all this time.

This week the California Department of Labor reported the number of government workers in the state has actually inched up from a year ago.

It’s plausible that San Bernardino County is the source of the increase.