Devereaux to get more authority
Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/28/2010 07:58:13 PM PDT

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance that makes sweeping changes in the way the county approves contracts and makes purchases.

Among other things, it gives County Administrative Officer Greg Devereaux authority to approve all consulting contracts up to $100,000 and all requests for proposals exceeding $150,000 without board approval.

Current policy requires supervisors’ approval for all contracts exceeding more than $50,000 and for all requests for proposals exceeding $150,000.

The ordinance goes before the board again on Oct. 5 for adoption.

Devereaux said he intends to report to the board on a quarterly basis which consultants or companies the county is contracting with and the services being provided to the county.

“We’re trying to do a whole series of things that will save more staff time and will allow more focus by the board on the true policy items,” Devereaux said.

The ordinance, based on a review of practices in other counties and Inland Empire cities, would make San Bernardino County’s practices on par with them, county spokesman David Wert said.

Bob Stern, executive director of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles, said the question is: “How independent will the CAO be from the board, and will there be underground influence by the board?”

“If the board is not going to be trying to influence him, then it’s a good thing because politics will not be playing into it,” Stern said.

Certain consulting contracts that flew under the Board of Supervisors’ radar in the past have come under sharp scrutiny.

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