Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/07/2012 09:59:56 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to place on the November ballot a measure aimed at blocking a competing measure proposing to set supervisors’ total pay and benefits to $60,000.

The countermeasure, introduced by the board last month, proposes to set supervisor pay and benefits commensurate with their counterparts in Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties.

A ballot measure proposing to reduce supervisors’ total annual compensation to $60,000 and slash their combined staff budgets from $6 million to $1.5 million gained momentum earlier this year after the county’s two biggest labor unions took over the petition drive.

In March, the two unions – the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association and the San Bernardino Public Employees Association – announced they had collected 73,672 petition signatures. That total was 30,152 more than the threshold to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Now, the two measures will face off in the Nov. 6 election, and the one with the most votes will win.

The unions’ ballot measure, the San Bernardino County Elected Officials Pay Reduction Act, triggered a complaint to the Grand Jury, which concluded in its annual report that supervisors’ salaries are comparable to their counterparts in Riverside, Orange and Ventura counties.

Still, San Bernardino County supervisors, at $150,000 a year, earn $7,000 more annually than supervisors in Riverside and Orange counties and $10,000 more than Ventura County supervisors, according to the Grand Jury report.

That’s because San Bernardino County voters approved Measure P in 2006, which set the supervisors’ salaries and limited their terms on the board to three.

A flaw of Measure P was that it included Los Angeles County, which pays its supervisors more because of its denser population and higher tax base. That skewed the average used to set the salary for San Bernardino County supervisors, county spokesman David Wert said.

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