Friday, January 27, 2012 – 09:45 a.m.
Well we finally have it.
San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chair Josie Gonzales admits she’s in it for the dough.
Gonzales made the comment when she learned that a powerful county union is now backing a measure to cut her pay from roughly $151,000 per year, to just $60,000.
Plus benefits of course!
For Gonzales, who’s been privately railing cuts county supes have imposed on their own benefits, it’s always been all about the money.
Especially since she shuttered her family-owned restaurant Mexico-Lindo in Fontana.
Some time ago Gonzales told me she was forced to close the establishment because she wasn’t there to keep an eye on things.
Something totally understandable.
Gonzales has even went as far as to say she won’t run for re-election if the measure passes. Because she needs the money to support her family.
The current hubbub is courtesy of the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association (SEBA).
SEBA has taken over the campaign of a ballot measure to make county supervisors part-time.
The measure will also reduce their annual operating budgets to $250,000.
The required signatures must be collected and submitted by early March.
An easily attainable deadline.
But honestly, the supervisors have nobody to blame but themselves.
Two board members, Gary Ovitt and Gonzales presided over the biggest enrichment of their own benefits in county history.
Supervisors Neil Derry, Brad Mitzelfelt and Janice Rutherford have fought to place that largess in check.
A majority-vote block of three supervisors has allowed county management to pretty much go to war with employee unions in order to exact painful wage and benefit cuts, rather than reduce the size of the workforce.
The aforementioned block being led by Rutherford, with Gonzales and Ovitt making three.
The whole collective bargaining process has definitely become hardball, with chief executive officer Greg Devereaux applying a my way or the highway approach.
However the brainiacs at the county government center never saw this monkey wrench coming.
But, then again, Devereaux would probably prefer a part-time board to let him have even more power and dominance.
A board of supervisors emulating a city council would be his preference.
Actually, if Devereaux had his way he would probably want the south-side of the fifth floor dark.
After all, his pay and authority isn’t getting whacked.
Unlike neighboring Riverside County, where county supervisors meet almost every week including those weeks with holidays, the San Berdoo bunch barely meets half the year.
After all it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Now back to SEBA.
SEBA has nearly a million dollars in political action funds and can easily fund and promote the part-time measure.
As a matter of fact, it’s a drop in the bucket.
What’s amusing is the county’s sabre-rattling.
The county, a charter county, is floating the idea that an initiative is an improper format to cause the pay reduction to occur. Even though the county used the same vehicle to pass Measure P in 2006.
Measure P gave the supes a roughly fifty-percent salary increase phased in over three years.
Sources say the union has budgeted $150,000 just to ensure the measure makes the ballot.
It won’t take anywhere near that much money to accomplish the goal.