RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted today to eliminate two vacant executive positions and modify the salaries of five others to save the county around $500,000 in the current fiscal year.

"This is a sign of restructuring at the government level to reduce executive management salaries in keeping with our economic conditions," Transportation & Land Management Agency Director Juan Perez told City News Service.

The board voted to permanently chop two TLMA deputy director positions -- both of which had remained unfilled in 2012-13 -- and reclassify five upper management jobs, meaning those employees are capped at salaries an average 12 percent lower than what they would have otherwise eventually been qualified to receive.

"We're trying to find savings wherever we can," Perez told the board. "We're reducing some of the top-end salary structure and combining positions ... Even though we're reducing the management structure, we can still provide the same level of service."

According to Perez, one TLMA deputy director position will remain active, but the individual occupying the post will be capped at a lower salary than in previous years.

The other four positions undergoing so-called "salary grade reductions" are: assistant director of transportation, building and safety official, code enforcement official and planning director.

The assistant director of transportation position, currently unoccupied, will go from a maximum potential annual salary of $224,078 to $199,429.

The building and safety manager and code enforcement official will both be capped at an annual salary of $183,213. The code enforcement slot is unoccupied but will be filled in 2013-14.

The planning director has reached the top tier of pay and benefits allowed for the position -- $191,000 -- essentially "freezing" the employee at that level under the changes authorized today by the board, according to Department of Human Resources chief Barbara Olivier.

Because the board had allocated funds for the vacant positions at the start of 2012-13 but the money will not be used, the unspent revenue is counted as a savings to the county. That accounting method plus the new ceilings placed on the five active positions will leave the county with an additional $500,000 this fiscal year, according to Olivier.

The changes will net the county an estimated $350,000 in savings in 2013-14, as well, she said.

"This is a very commendable action," said Supervisor Marion Ashley. "We're locking in the basis for long-term efficiency ... (and) making the department lean and mean."