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Thread: The Bell, CA scandal

  1. #1
    now! in shell form Array INA's Avatar
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    Jun 2008

    Default The Bell, CA scandal

    It continues.

    I could use a sweet gig like the committee members' nearly $100,000 a year gig for part-time elected positions. In most cities the size of Bell elected council members would make about $400 a month.
    After all, it's a couple hours a week sitting on useless city boards and commissions.

    The Los Angeles Times continues digging up dirt in the Bell, Calif. salary scandal. This time, the newspaper points out that while some city officials were raking in colossal six-figure wages, others making one- and (LOW) two-figure hourly salaries were let go during budget cuts.

    Case in point: the year City Manager Robert Rizzo made $787,000 [not including benefits, which takes it to $1.5M], Rosario Torres, who worked with preschoolers, and Parks and Rec employee Miguel Sanchez, 33, were canned. Torres made $9 an hour; Sanchez made $10.50.
    Well, it turns out the city is not doing so well with its debt.
    Bell, the Los Angeles suburb that paid its city manager almost $800,000 a year, had its credit cut five steps to junk by Standard & Poor’s on concerns about the city’s ability to refinance or pay debt due Nov. 1.

    And there are more little Bells.
    Then someone noticed that Maywood’s neighbor, Bell, another poor, mainly Hispanic city south of Los Angeles that had agreed to process Maywood’s parking tickets and have its assistant city manager generally keep an eye on things, in return for about $50,000 a month, was being run by top officials who treated the city coffers like a cash machine.

    So a bunch of people resigned, but there's more of that outsized pay for precious little in a small town where some 28% are below the poverty level. Of course the unemployment rate raised by city-cuts (see above) doesn't help.
    In addition, Bell's director of community services, Annette Peretz, earned $273,542, a deputy city engineer earned $247,573, the business development coordinator earned $295,627, a police captain earned $238,075 and a police lieutenant earned $229,992. Their names were not immediately released.
    Do you know what your city officials make?
    Will anything come out of this besides hand-wringing and noisy condemnations. Transparency?
    hoarding time and space
    A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.
    — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  2. #2
    lackluster primate Array Night's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    Unfortunately, this type of reward system is fairly common. Those that control the flow of money often have little difficulty swimming in its current. People without "specialized" responsibility frequently experience the converse of this dynamic, and often receive a beggar's wage for comparable diligence in their respective fields.

    So, no. Nothing will come of this. This type of behavior is systemic and its remedy would require a revamping of the bureaucratic structure that makes community services like the ones described possible in big city environments.

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