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California Official's $800,000 Salary in City of 38,000 Triggers Protests

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posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:53 PM

California Official's $800,000 Salary in City of 38,000 Triggers Protests

Hundreds of residents of one of the poorest municipalities in Los Angeles County shouted in protest last night as tensions rose over a report that the city’s manager earns an annual salary of almost $800,000.

An overflow crowd packed a City Council meeting in Bell, a mostly Hispanic city of 38,000 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, to call for the resignation of Mayor Oscar Hernandez and other city officials. Residents left standing outside the chamber banged on the doo
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 05:53 PM

It was the first council meeting since the Los Angeles Times reported July 15 that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns $787,637 -- with annual 12 percent raises -- and that Bell pays its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work.

City Attorney Edward Lee said the council members couldn’t discuss salaries in public without advance notice. The council then adjourned for a private session. About an hour later, the council members returned, and Hernandez read a statement saying the city would prepare a report on the salaries and seek public comment at the next council meeting, scheduled for Aug. 16.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This is crazy, in a city with an almost 12 percent unemployment rate, the local government is paying themselves over-the-top salaries. This is corruption at its finest. It's things like this that make me sick and I wonder how many other places in America are in the same situation.

(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:04 PM
The best part is his pension when he is forced to retire,

Just more of the waste public sector gets away with on the taxpayers dime. I wonder if this City Manager sacrificed 8yrs of his life in education after high school and accumulating student loans after student loans to earn that kind of salary.

And the best yet, most of the state & county legislatures recently voted to raise their own salaries a year ago.

[edit on 21-7-2010 by prionace glauca]

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:20 PM
Yeah, I can't believe they were able to keep it a secret as long as they did. It just goes to show the lack of vigilance in most Americans. I only wonder how many other towns are in the same situation.


posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:46 PM
GEESH! $800,000 salary, is that legal? i mean, the only other people i know of that make huge salary numbers in retail, or CEO's, or long term administartive people. thast effin insane $800,000 a year no wonder CA is bankrupt. who does he think he is a CEO? for making $800,000 a year, yuode think for that kinda money, CA shouldnt have any money problems. He aint doing his job...taking care of the citys residents* he is only in it for himeslf, the selfish bastid. he should resign in shame no less.
Their is no such thing as a city employee making over $300,000 a year!

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:50 PM
Being he is a city employee* he should be audited* see if all that earning of $800,00 was legite or not. In my city, southwest CT, some city tax collector or something, was arrested for steeling over $620,000 over quite some time. HE was co signing tax checks and cashing them. That hurts the city, becuase then thiers little or no money to do things like plow snow, fill potholes, which is what our probkem is on and off. SO! the city turns to the state, which in turns gets government money to eventually make long overdue repairs....doing that HURTS the city and everyopne and pulls money form areas where it isnt needed....unless its to fill 'thier' pockets and bank accounts* off the record of the public eye.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 06:53 PM
The bottom line is...its stealing, and that money is NEVER coming back* a city employee will go to prison, but not pay back the money. i do it, i am looking at LEvenworth almost* go figure. what they aut to o, is audit him, find out if its legite,a flaw in som computer or human resource area, andd if guilty ORDER him to pay back what he stole from the people, so the money at least comes back in.

posted on Jul, 21 2010 @ 07:45 PM
reply to post by airspoon

Colors dont work ,so just try and imagine them. Such a pitiful system.

By Steve Lopez

July 21, 2010

In the newspaper business, when editors are asked what kinds of stories they want to go after, there's a popular two-word answer. The first word is "holy" and the second word is unprintable.

Well, friends, my Times colleagues Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb dug up a genuine "holy [cow]" story in the town of Bell last week, exposing the staggering, colossal, unconscionable salaries that city officials have awarded themselves under the radar of the struggling town's residents.

On Monday, I drove to Bell to see if I could make sense of how it all happened. I parked at City Hall, walked up to the counter and asked to speak to the nearly $800,000-a-year city manager, because I was dying to see what such a specimen looks like.

A clerk dutifully took my name and disappeared. On his salary, Robert Rizzo — or should I say Ratso Rizzo — would surely want to take me out to a nice lunch. Or perhaps pay off my mortgage. He was dumb and arrogant enough, after all, to tell my Times colleagues that if his $787,637 salary was "a number people choke on, maybe I'm in the wrong business. I could go into private business and make that money."

When the clerk returned, she told me Mr. Humility was unavailable.

Maybe he was busy testing the waters in private business, because now that he's been exposed, I'm betting it will get a little hot for old Ratso — and his $376,288 assistant, and the city's $457,000 police chief, and the $100,000 part-time council members. In fact, it already is. Outraged citizens descended on City Hall by the hundreds Monday night demanding that the bums be tossed out on their ears.

"They've awakened a sleeping giant," Denisse Rodarte, a lifelong Bell resident and one of the organizers of the rally, told me in her home a short distance from City Hall.

But why was the giant asleep in the first place, and unaware of the plundering?

Corruption is everywhere in California and beyond, from civic centers to Wall Street. But there's a particular strain of brazen malfeasance in south and southeast L.A. County, with a shameful history of headlines emanating from Maywood and South Gate and Compton and Carson, to name a few. Whether you're talking to residents or think-tank types, you hear some common themes.

Garcia, who is now helping organize protests in nearby Bell, said she suspects the vultures deliberately move into cities where they think it'll be easy pickings. Rizzo moved to Bell from Hesperia in 1993 at a salary of $72,000. By 2005, as Vives and Gottlieb reported, he was up to $442,000, and his contract was amended to give him 12% increases annually. The boobs on the City Council, meanwhile, altered the City Charter so they wouldn't have to comply with state guidelines on council salaries.

The cynic in me wonders who's rubbing whose back and what they're getting out of it. And in fact, the L.A. County district attorney is investigating Bell's exorbitant City Council paychecks.

But this may merely be a case of city officials bellying up to the trough and grabbing all they can.

"People get power and it turns to greed," said South Gate Mayor Henry Gonzalez, who was punched by a fellow council member and shot in the head by an unknown assailant back when his town was being ravaged by City Hall thieves in a corruption scandal 10 years ago.

Jaime Regalado of Cal State L.A.'s Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute for Public Affairs said officials in southeastern L.A. County have taken advantage of the fact that many immigrant residents aren't shocked by corruption, having come from countries where it's even more blatant.

"But when it hits the press, as it has in Bell, there's the potential for an uprising," Regalado said.

In fact, no one in Bell knew about the inflated salaries before The Times blasted them across Page 1. But that's not because nobody was interested in local affairs, Denisse Rodarte insisted. It's because City Hall was run like the Kremlin.

"We're not ignorant," said Rodarte, a college grad who works in the nonprofit medical field.

Lots of hard-working people care about their community and how it's run, she said. But it's been impossible to get information out of City Hall, whether she was asking about how to volunteer at the food bank or about why, when there's plenty to worry about at home, Bell officials took over some services for nearby Maywood, which has its own history of rotten scoundrels.

Rodarte said residents were mocked and degraded by council members when they protested the Maywood deal, but they're not going to back down again. She's now signed on with the Bell Assn. to Stop the Abuse (or BASTA, which means "enough" in Spanish), and along with Garcia, her ally from Bell Gardens, she's trying to organize such a movement across southeast L.A. County.

All of which brings us back to Bell's city manager, who makes twice as much as President Obama.

Are people choking on that number, Ratso? Yep.

If there's justice, you'll be the first thing they spit out.

[edit on 21-7-2010 by RRokkyy]

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