Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/07/2012 04:53:53 PM PST

More than 73,000 signatures were submitted to the Registrar of Voters on Wednesday to qualify the “Part-Time Pay for Part-Time Work” initiative, which would establish a part-time Board of Supervisors, for the November ballot.

Officially called the San Bernardino County Elected Officials Pay Reduction Act, the initiative only needed about 43,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

The signatures were presented to the registrar by a coalition of San Bernardino County employee unions, Tea Party members and residents, according to a statement from the Safety Employee Benefit Association (SEBA), which represents public safety officers.

“In just 41 days our coalition collected over 57,000 signatures signaling the popularity of this initiative,” Laren Leichliter, SEBA president, said in the statement. Those were added to signatures collected by the initiative’s author, Wrightwood resident Kieran `Red’ Brennan, to push the measure beyond its goal.

Essentially, the initiative amends the county charter to establish a part-time board of supervisors and reduces their pay and perks from an average of $271,000 to $60,000 per year. It reduces their office budgets from $6 million to $1.5 million per year.

Leichliter explained that as cities incorporated and regional agencies were created, many county government functions have been assumed by other entities, resulting in a lesser role for the supervisors. The board met only half the time over the past two years, according to SEBA.

The SEBA president announced in January the union’s push to get the initiative on the November ballot. It occurred the same day the Board of Supervisors directed county counsel to prepare a ballot initiative proposing that any benefit increases for county employees proposed by supervisors be put to a citizen vote.

The unions maintain that any changes to the benefits packages of the employees they represent should be part of the collective bargaining process, not the decision of taxpayers.

The Registrar of Voters has 30 working days to count and verify the estimated 73,459 signatures submitted. Upon verification, the registrar will present the certified results to the Board of Supervisors, said Mike Scarpello, of the Registrar of Voters.

The board must then accept the results and put them on the ballot for the November election, explained county spokesman David Wert.

“It’s the right of the citizens to put measures on the ballot,” said Wert. “But it’s also important for people to understand what this measure really means.”

Wert said the initiative will not create a part-time Board of Supervisors because it contains no language for supervisors to work a certain number of hours.

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