Measure R Proposed San Bernardino County Charter Amendment Initiative November 6, 2012

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Voters in the County of San Bernardino are voting on two competing charter amendments.  The first, alphabetically is Measure Q, which I wrote about yesterday.

Measure R is a voter-submitted Charter Amendment, but unlike Measure Q, amends more than just Article VI, Section 1 of the San Bernardino County Charter:

County Counsel, as required by the Government Code, created a summary of the charter initiative:

COMPENSATION LIMITS AND BUDGET REDUCTIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE
COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS. INITIATIVE CHARTER AMENDMENT.
Changes the elected office of County Supervisor to a part-time position. Establishes the
maximum monthly compensation for the office of County Supervisor to a total amount of
$5,000 plus a cost of living adjustment not to exceed 5% annually. Cost to the County
of all County Supervisor benefits, including but not limited to, salary, health insurance,
life insurance, leave, retirement, memberships, portable communication devices, and
vehicle allowances shall be included in the $5,000. Establishes a maximum total annual
budget for each Member of the Board of Supervisors at an amount not to exceed five
(5) times the annual compensation amount for each Member. Limits retirement benefits
for the position of County Supervisor to that of regular, non-sworn-peace officer, County
employees. Eliminates the participation by any County Supervisor in the County’s
401(k), 401(a), or 457(b) Plan.

Article I,  Section 1 of the San Bernardino County Charter would be amended to read:

SECTION 1. The Board of Supervisors shall consist of five members, one from
each supervisorial district. The Supervisors shall be nominated and elected at the time
and in the manner provided by general laws, except that provided that each supervisor
shall be elected by the electors of such district and not by the electors of the County at
large.

The position of County Supervisor shall be considered a part-time position.
“Part-time” is defined as attending a minimum of two regular board meetings per
month. Members may hold full-time employment and must comply with economic
disclosure requirements as set forth in the County Code and the California Government
Code. as required.

Article VI, Section 1 would be replaced and Section 2 would be added:

SECTION I. The total compensation of each member of the Board of Supervisors shall be five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) per month, which amount shall include the
actual cost to the County of all benefits of whatever kind or nature including but not
limited to salary, allowances, credit cards, health insurance, life insurance, leave,
retirement, memberships, portable communication devices, and vehicle allowances. This
compensation amount shall be in full compensation for all services by the respective
member of the Board of Supervisors.
Annually, the compensation of Supervisors shall be increased by the percentage
of increase in the cost of living, to be determined by the County Auditor-Controller as of
November I st of each year as shown in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price
Index for the Los Angeles Region, not to exceed five percent (5%) per year, provided that
such adjustments shall be rounded to the nearest $100. Any amount of increase in the
cost of living in excess of five percent (5%) may be accumulated and applied to increase
in salary in future years.

The foregoing compensation provisions shall not be changed except by a vote of
the people at the time of a general election.

SECTION 2. The compensation amount provided in Article VI. Section 1 shall
not include amounts deemed to be mandatory employer contributions and/or payments
under state or federal law, including, but not limited to, contributions for social security,
workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, Public Employee Retirement System,
and reimbursement for actual expenses.

Measure R would add Article I, Section 10:

ARTICLE I. SECTION 10: BOARD OF SUPERVISORS BUDGET
The total annual budget for each Member of the Board of Supervisors, including.
but not limited to, all office operations, and including staff member salaries, office
equipment, rent, vehicle allowances, credit cards. health insurance, life insurance, leave,
retirement, memberships, and portable communication devices shall not exceed five (5)
times the annual compensation amount for each Member as provided in Article VI.
Section I of this Charter. Compensation for each member of the Board of Supervisors
shall be separate and apart from the foregoing amount.
At no time shall any County resources be directed to supplant this provision
through any other county department or division including the County Administrative
Office.
The foregoing compensation provisions shall not be changed except by a vote of
the people at the time of a general election.

The Measure continues with the addition of Article VI, Section 6 to the Charter of the County of San Bernardino:

ARTICLE VI. SECTION 6: RETIREMENT BENEFITS OF MEMBERS OF
THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
SECTION 6. Upon the commencement of the next regular individual respective
term of each member of the Board of Supervisors, each member of the Board of
Supervisors shall thereafter be limited to annual retirement pension benefits of regular,
non-sworn- peace officer, County employees. Any supplemental retirement allowance
and/or contribution on behalf of the respective Supervisors is hereby eliminated,
including, but not limited to, participation in the County’s 401(k) and 401(a) retirement
plans; participation in the County’s 457(b) plan is eliminated; and any matching
payment(s) on behalf of any or all of the Supervisors by the County.
For each member of the Board of Supervisors who is a participant in the County
retirement system and/or any successor retirement system (“retirement system”), the
earnable compensation amount used to calculate the relevant pension formula shall
consist of wages derived from the respective Supervisor’s hourly rate equivalent. All
other forms of compensation, including, but not limited to, automobile allowance, health
benefits, insurance, portable communication device allowance, and leave accrual cash-outs
shall be excluded.
The Board of Supervisors shall not take any action, by ordinance, resolution, or
otherwise, which increases the retirement benefits of members of the Board of
Supervisors, with the exception of statutorily-established cost of living adjustments,
without first obtaining the approval of a majority of those qualified electors voting on the
matter.
Prior to placement of any proposed increased benefits on the ballot, the retirement
system shall prepare, or have prepared on its behalf, an actuarial study of the cost and the
funded and unfunded actuarial accrued liability attributable to the retirement benefit
changes proposed by the amendment. Such actuarial study shall be available to the
public and a summary of the actuarial study shall be published in the ballot pamphlet.

The effective date is the next term of each Supervisor.  Measure Q, Section 5.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708
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About Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
Michael Reiter is a Redlands, California-based lawyer, serving San Bernardino County and Riverside County in Southern California's Inland Empire. Michael Reiter is a lawyer practicing in the following fields of law: Municipal Law, Code Enforcement Law, Small Business Law and Real Estate Law. Michael Reiter practices in all the local courts, including San Bernardino Superior Court, Riverside Superior Court, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Michael Reiter was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998. Michael Reiter was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, and Staff Attorney for Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. Michael Reiter serves all of San Bernardino and Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. Michael Reiter can be reached at (909) 296-6708, or by electronic mail at michael@michaelreiterlaw.com. 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

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