San Bernardino County Part-Time Supervisors, Measure R (November 2012)
Measure R sought to make the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors a part-time governing body, reducing board members' salary and benefit packages from a high of more than $308,000 to $60,000 annually. It also reduced allocations for political staff to $300,000 per district.
The compensation of the five members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has been approximately doubled in recent years. In 2010, the board delegated many of its responsibilities to an appointed county manager and reduced its meeting schedule to part-time. The five members of the Board of Supervisors cumulatively spend $6 million on their staffs; the highest paid staff member of a board supervisor received over $225,000 annually. Measure R would set a limit on the amount that the board supervisors could pay their staff.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, in late July 2012, voted to place Measure Q, a competing measure on the ballot. Measure Q would slightly reduce the annual salary of board supervisors, but would not impact their benefit and retirement packages or their staffing levels.
If Measure Q and Measure R were both approved, which they were, the measure that received the most votes will be the one enacted. Measure Q received the higher vote total in number and percentage.
- Final certified results from the San Bernardino County elections office.
Measure R was initiated by a grassroots citizens group, chaired by former San Bernardino County Grand Jury member and WWII Submarine veteran Kieran Brennan. It is supported by the Americans for America Tea Party group, the San Bernardino Public Employees Association, San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association (Sheriff's Deputies, DA Investigators & Probation Officers) and members of both political parties.
These unions announced their support for the measure after the county's supervisors began to discuss a county-wide measure to put future pension increases for county employees up to a public vote.
The official voter guide arguments in favor of Measure R were signed by:
- Laren Leichliter, president of the Safety Employees Benefit Association
- Burrel Woodring, a past foreman of the San Bernardino County grand jury
- James Ramos, a trustee of the San Bernardino Community College District
- Clint O. Air, founder of Tea Party Americans for America
- Rick Roelle, a Town of Apple Valley council member
Arguments in favor
The arguments in favor of Measure R in the official voter guide included:
- In the past several years, three board supervisors have been charged with felonies and "multiple county staffers have gone to prison, have pled guilty or are awaiting trial."
- In 2010, the board delegated most of its responsibilities to an unelected manager, thus reducing their workload to a level where it can be done on a part-time basis.
- 84% of the population of San Bernardino County lives in a city that is represented by part-time elected officials.
- "Taxpayers shouldn't be asked to pay for full-time salaries for part-time work."
The arguments against Measure R in the official voter guide were signed by:
- Judith E. Jasper, a business owner
- Leslie A. Lyon-Nixon, a business owner
- Richard E. Riley, a retired teacher
- Ravelle Lyn Greene, a college professor
The editorial board of the San Bernardino Sun urged a "no" vote on Measure R, saying, "Essentially, Measure R is an attempt by the unions to bully the supervisors because they were doing what they needed to do - negotiate for union concessions in difficult times with the county facing big budget problems. Its passage would weaken the Board of Supervisors, which represents county taxpayers in pay negotiations, and strengthen the hand of the county's unions."
The arguments against Measure R in the official voter guide included:
- It attempts to save money by turning full-time jobs into part-time positions; this is not a good idea.
- Measure R is "a power play by a public employee union that wants to run things without any oversight by elected officials."
- The Board of Supervisors oversees a $4 billion annual budget; this is a full-time job.
Path to the ballot
Supporters of the measure turned in 73,672 signatures to qualify it for the ballot, versus a requirement of 43,500 signatures.
- Argument in favor of Measure R
- Rebuttal to arguments against Measure R
- Argument against Measure R
- Rebuttal to arguments in favor of Measure R
- The "Yes on Measure R" website
- Press Enterprise, "Measure cutting supervisors pay, staff qualifies," March 21, 2012
- Press Enterprise, "S.B. COUNTY: Ballot measure goes forward," March 28, 2012
- Victorville Daily Press, "Two ballot measures may affect pay for county supervisors," October 17, 2012
- Press Enterprise, "Supervisors' alternative to big pay cut," July 23, 2012
- Press Enterprise, "Petitions seeking part-time supervisors submitted," March 7, 2012
- San Bernardino Sun, "Yes on Q, No on R," October 23, 2012