San Bernardino County's two new supervisors have been busy since their Dec. 3 swearing-in ceremony appointing staff members.

Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved employment contracts for a deputy chief of staff and field representative for 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood and a deputy chief of staff, communications assistant and administrative analyst for 3rd District Supervisor James Ramos.

Ramos appointed as his deputy chief of staff Christopher Carrillo at an annual salary of $161,361, including benefits. He named Molly Wiltshire his communications assistant at a salary of $77,691 and Otoniel Tony Mejia his administrative analyst at a salary of $111,518, including benefits.

Each employees' employment contract will automatically renew after one year.

Ramos is expected to round out the rest of his staff early next year.

"We're looking to add some field staff in January, and we're in the process of interviewing now," Ramos' chief of staff, Phil Paule, said Monday.

Last month, Ramos hired Paule, a French Valley resident who was a candidate for the 67th Assembly District seat in Riverside County but lost to Melissa Melendez in the Nov. 6 general election. The board approved his employment contract on Nov. 27.

Paule will receive an annual salary of $175,031.

Lovingood, who has yet to appoint a chief of staff, has appointed as his deputy chief of staff Margaret Smith at a salary of $37,550, including benefits, according to Smith's employment contract.

Smith's contract is good through April 30.

Lovingood appointed as his field representative Ken Anderson, whose salary will be $20,361 and whose contract expires on Feb. 15.

Lovingood declined to comment Monday, saying he feels it would be inappropriate because he is still selecting staff members. He said he should have a full staff in place by the end of January.

County spokesman David Wert said contracts are a relatively new thing for all board employees, and that the county only recently required them. Previously, most board employees were regular county employees, he said.

As for Lovingood's temporary employment contracts, Wert said it is not unheard of for new county supervisors to make short-term hires when they first take office.

"Sometimes they (supervisors) will hire people with whom they are familiar but who are available for only a few months or less than a year to help them get started and help them seek out and select permanent staff," Wert said in an email.

He said some contracts are open-ended and can be terminated at the board member's discretion or by a four-fifths vote of the board, and others can be for set periods with options for renewal.

"The terms aren't really significant because a new contract can be created to keep someone on board if there was no renewal clause in the original contract," Wert said in the email. "What's important is that all contracts and contract changes have to be approved in public by a majority of the board, and board members can terminate their employees' contracts at any time, or contracts can be terminated by a four-fifths vote of the board."


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