Update: Bell CA Officials to Quit while Mayor Defends Sky-High Salaries
Update to Bell Gets Mad as Hell: Local Government Run Amok —
The Los Angeles Times reports that three City of Bell officials at the center of a salary controversy are resigning. After a lengthy closed-door session, Mayor Oscar Hernandez announced the three public administrators will leave their posts in August or September.
Hernandez went on to defend the huge salaries approved by the City Council:
“Unlike the skewed view of the facts the Los Angeles Times presented to advance the paper’s own agenda, a look at the big picture of city compensation shows that salaries of the city manager and other top city staff have been in line with similar positions over the period of their tenure,” Hernandez said in a letter to the public.
The Mayor’s statement was met with criticism in a statement released by the League of California Cities:
“The proper level of compensation is typically set in relationship to the breadth and complexity of the responsibilities of the position, length of experience, the level of education required, comparisons to cities of comparable size and with similar services, and other relevant factors. Cities frequently survey other similar cities to make sure they are paying within market rates. We are unaware of any city in the nation where salaries of this level are paid for comparable positions.” (emphasis added)
Bell, a city of about 37,000 residents, paid City Manager Robert Rizzo a salary of $787,637, nearly twice as much as President Barack Obama‘s annual pay. Police Chief Randy Adams received $457,000 last year, 50% more than the police chief of neighboring Los Angeles. Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, Rizzo’s second in command, received a salary of $376,288.
The Bell City Council, including Mayor Hernandez, approved the contracts for these three officials. The Times also reported that the council members pay of nearly $100,000 greatly exceeds the $4,800 typical of California communities the size of Bell.