10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, March 25, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County Superior Court judges will continue to receive judicial benefits — automobile, security and education allowances — under an agreement approved by county supervisors this week.

The agreement, which spells out payments and services between the courts and the county, is the first since the Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal last year by Supervisor Neil Derry to eliminate judicial benefits.

Supervisors promised after that meeting to have a subcommittee meet with judges to discuss court costs and negotiate a new agreement.

That subcommittee, which was made up of Board Chairman Gary Ovitt and Supervisor Josie Gonzales, recommended moving forward with a similar agreement as in past years, said Gary McBride, deputy administrative officer.

The agreement is retroactive to last July and is in place until June. Unlike past agreements it allows for automatic renewals every year unless either party wants to make changes.

Although the courts are part of the state government, they contract for several county services such as facilities management and human resources, providing about $2.6 million in reimbursements to the county this year.

The county also provides about $19,000 a year in supplemental benefits to 62 judges. Only judges appointed before Jan. 1, 2008 receive the benefits.

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