Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 05/28/2010 07:46:46 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a plan to lay off 85 employees and eliminate a total of 462 county positions in an effort to close an $89.4 million deficit in the county’s 2010-2011 budget.

Up to 410 additional employees, including sheriff’s deputies, could also be laid off if the county cannot negotiate new contracts with its general and safety employee unions.

General and safety employees are being asked to forgo pay raises again this year. Negotiations are still underway.

Public safety employees, including sheriff’s deputies, have been asked to cut their pay by 7 percent to generate about $16 million in savings. The union has offered about half that, said Bill Abernathie, president of the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association.

“We came up with what we thought was a reasonable compromise, and that’s what we’re voting on right now,” said Abernathie.

The county’s proposed $3.8 billion spending plan, which includes $598.5 million in county-controlled funding, calls for all county departments to cut costs by up to 40 percent.

“I believe the proposed budget reflects the board’s desire to be fiscally responsible, even if that means making difficult decisions,” County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux said in a news release.

Programs and positions in the District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices would be eliminated due to a reduction in state-funded
support.

District Attorney Michael A. Ramos said he will fight to save positions.

“We’re down to bone,” Ramos said. “This is a tough time for everybody.”

He said the fate of positions in his office rests primarily with the labor unions.

“If the (unions) don’t waive (pay raises), it’s going to create double the economic crisis in the county,” Ramos said.

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