Monday, November 26, 2012 – 09:45 a.m.

San Bernardino County Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales has come up with a good idea for voters to consider.

Gonzales is proposing voters amend the county charter to require a special election to fill any mid-term vacancy of county elected offices.

The idea is a result of the ongoing controversy from the announcement by Sheriff-Coroner Rod Hoops that he will retire in December, just 23 months into his only four-year term.

The short period since his announcement has been filled with accusations of insider-dealing to assure that Assistant Sheriff John McMahon will succeed Hoops, who county supervisors appointed to replace retired Sheriff-Coroner Gary Penrod in February 2009.

Supervisors have been under tremendous pressure from various special interests, and even their own Chief Executive Officer, Greg Devereaux, to select McMahon over retired Sheriff’s Deputy Chief and Former County Marshal Keith Bushey and Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff Paul Schrader.

In 2009, county supervisors opted to merge the elected office of Treasurer-Collector with the Auditor-Controller rather than appoint Former Treasurer-Tax Collector Dick Larsen’s assistant Annette Kerber.

While it comes with an increased cost to taxpayers, Gonzales idea has merit and voters should be allowed to decide whether or not they or county supervisors should fill vacancies.

But for a county continually plagued with its share of problems, and a Sheriff’s Department that has been hit with one scandal after another, it’s an idea to consider.