The law precludes reducing an elected official's compensation during a pending term or after a candidate announces their bid for public office. Therefore, the pay and benefit adjustments mandated by Measure Q will not be put in place until the next term for each supervisor, county spokesman David Wert said.
Supervisors Janice Rutherford and Gary Ovitt, who are up for re-election in 2014, will be the first supervisors - or whomever succeeds them should they not get re-elected - to have their salaries and benefits adjusted.
"I think it's clear that people in San Bernardino County want their elected officials to not be able to spike their pay, their benefits or their pension," Rutherford said.
It will be four years before Supervisor Josie Gonzales and newly elected supervisors James Ramos and Robert Lovingood will have to take the cut to their pay and benefits.
In November 2006, voters approved Measure P, which set the salaries for San Bernardino County supervisors at $150,183 a year. That salary schedule was based on an average of supervisor salaries in Riverside, Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties. The ballot measure did not place a cap on supervisors' benefits.
Lumping Los Angeles County in with the other three counties skewed the average because supervisors in that county are paid more than supervisors in the other three counties. It put San Bernardino County supervisors ahead of their counterparts in salary, county spokesman David Wert said.
Removing Los Angeles County from the equation and rolling back benefits puts San Bernardino County on a level playing field, Rutherford said.
"Measure Q provided that check in abuse of powers, and creates mandatory caps on the supervisors' total compensation," Rutherford said.
On Dec. 1, 2013, the county will conduct a survey of supervisors' salaries and benefits in Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties, calculate an average, then set the salaries and benefits of San Bernardino County supervisors based on that average. The county will conduct the survey every four years thereafter and adjust the salary schedule and benefits accordingly.
As a general rule of thumb, salaries for county supervisors are equivalent to 80 percent of a Superior Court judge's salary. It is the method used to set the salaries of supervisors in Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties.
The Board of Supervisors introduced and approved Measure Q in July. It was in direct response to a competing ballot measure - Measure R - proposed to reduce supervisors pay and benefits to $60,000 and to reduce supervisors' staff budgets to a collective total of $2.5 million.
Measure Q defeated Measure R by slightly more than three percentage points, 67.40 percent to 64.24 percent.
"I think that Measure R woke up the Board of Supervisors, and maybe they will start doing something about the obscene salaries they are getting," said Burrel Woodring, a local government watchdog and former grand jury foreman who supported Measure R. "The voters have spoken, so that's what we live with," Woodring said.
Laren Leichliter, president of the San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association (SEBA), said he was a "little disappointed" that Measure R didn't pass, but was happy with the fact there something was in place to help corral the problem.
Leichliter announced in January that SEBA was getting behind the Measure R petition drive in the wake of contentious labor negotiations between his union and the county.
"(Measure Q) does take L.A. (county) out of the mix. There will be a little but of a pay cut, but it doesn't touch the staff issue," Leichliter said. "But it's a beginning."