San Bernardino County Amendment

The members of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors may not be popular people to those who observe the politics of our county. Unfortunately we detonated a nuclear bomb to express our disgust with the board and we need to contain the fallout from this ballot measure.

San Bernardino County is the biggest county in the continental United States for those representing some of the vast districts of the board such as the first and third districts only the independently wealthy could sustain serving the people if this amendment passes.

People may not like the managerial style of Greg Devereaux, but thanks to his tenure in the city of Ontario he led the city to fiscal health in this horrid economy. When other cities are shutting down their city libraries or firing police officers, Ontario is doing very well.

I do recognize that labor unions are there to fight for their membership. However we can not give people candy land if there is no money to sustain the desired wage increases. We can not cannibalize our public agencies for the benefit of wage increases. People are desperate for jobs and having a job in this economy is a good thing even if wages are stagnant.

Government reform advocates may not be pleased that the board added Devereaux through backdoor methods, but maybe it is time for the county to officially add him on to the county charter by the voters. A Chief Administrative Officer is nothing new. Even the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has one to serve their board.

Personally I would have no objections to our Chief Administrative Officer, but I would like to make sure our board is doing duties at or comparable to other counties who pay their board members for a full time pay which have a Chief Administrative Officer.

I think the only things I would strike down from the de facto amendment the board passed in 2010 is the non-interference clause from SECTION 8. Section 12.0103 which has the clause stating that,

“.. Except, no member of the Board of Supervisors nor any member of his/her staff shall give orders to or instruct the subordinates of the Chief Executive Officer, either publicly or privately.”

I would revise the removal clause from 4/5ths to 3/5ths. But that does not seem viable because no one would want to apply for the job if I added that revision.

Problem is many governmental reformers detest how Devereaux as CAO basically can overrule a supervisor. A supervisor should have equal authority as the CAO. I can understand why public employee unions sponsored the ballot measure from the government reformers, when the supervisors surrendered their authority to Devereaux they felt that the supervisors lost their argument that they deserve full time pay.

I predict that the amendment will likely pass this November. But it might take the supervisors to sit at the big kids table and take back control from the CAO in order to get their full time wages back. As a growing county we will need the services of a skilled CAO/CEO official, but we should have accountability where they should answer to the board.

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