This is just ridiculous; City praises City Manager who got paid $800,000

So it turns out that the city of Bell, California was paying their City Manager $787,000, twice as much as what the President of the US makes. They were paying their Chief of Police $400,000 to supervise FORTY SIX policeman. The Chief of Police for Los Angeles gets half as much to manage thousands of policeman. The city population is under 100,000.

The median income for the people of Bell is $46,000. The City Council was able to avoid state mandated salaries by getting 336 people to vote to make them a “charter city”, thereby exempting themselves from salary mandates. The City Manager told the City Council that since he would get $800,000 if he was in the private sector, they’d have to pay him that much to get him to take the job.

And Mayor Oscar Hernandez says ‘the money was well spent’..

I am so angry about this. They are thieves, plain and simple. I hope there is some way to prosecute them so that the people of the city get their money back and these assholes have to give up their assets to pay back the cities. There is currently an investigation by both the county and the state so we’ll see. I bet the crooks are currently transferring ownership (or have already done so) in everything of value they own.

How in the hell does a city with a population of over 36,000 people (2000 census) pay for all those corrupt officials when the average salary is below California average salary?

The article linked says the Police Chief is making 50% more than LA’s, not twice as much. Still silly, obviously.

Supposedly less than 400 citizens out of the 36,000+ turned out for the special election to make it a charter city. The rest of the citizenry likely didn’t notice the blip in their local taxes until it’s just been recently connected to this ridiculousness.

According to the wiki article on the town, the people with the insane salaries are not “employment at will” positions and would therefore have to be bought out - costing a significant amount as a lump sum.

They have resigned, but Rizzo is still entitled to this big pension. However, CALPers is investigating the entire thing, so if the city has not complied with CALPers pension regulations, he may not get shit. Let’s hope so.

Well, if you assume that 1/2 of the population works, and the average salary is $20k, then a tax increase accounting for 0.5% of resident’s annual income could finance $1.8 million of graft spending.

Obviously, these are made up numbers, but if you imagine a small tax increase levied during good times (or a larger tax increase where the lion’s share of the revenue went to real and useful public improvements) it’s easy to see how this sort of corruption might escape notice until times got rough. Also mentioned in the other California thread was the possibility that the death of small-town journalism has made local shenanigans harder to detect.

I like how Rizzo is making something like 5% of the city’s operating budget, and the top 3 make something like a combined 10% of the operating budget. On top of it, most of the council is making around 100K for part-time work. Depending on how many of them there are, that’s probably another 5%. That’s beyond insane. Who the hell is auditing the books there?

Well, I’m sure a public shaming is punishment enough. Like for the banks.

Local politics is a lot more brutal.

Issued new bonds?

It doesn’t seem to be. You see what the mayor said. Guess he figures he won’t be mayor anymore anyway, so might as well lick the hand of the guy with the money.

So you’re saying Adam Smith was wrong? What are you, some sort of godless communist?

I’ve been a godless communist for a long time if that’s what it takes. Once upon a time, public shaming mattered, but I’m sure even now the guy who made $800,000 a year has a bunch of admirers. Anything for money.

I think you missed the vein of outrage beneath my mild-mannered exterior.

Yeah. These guys took the money, legally, and ran.

Things like this are evidence as to why we need the press to be a watchdog on government. It’s scary when you see what is happening to newspapers.

You hold up a liquor store and steal $200 you get 12 years. You take hundreds of thousands in undeserved salary in a small town, you get some bad press.

Something weird is going on in that neck of the woods (southeast LA County). Several years ago city officials were recalled from their posts in South Gate, right next to Bell, for corruption, and the treasurer is currently sitting in federal prison. Right next to South Gate is Lynwood, where a bunch of city council members were recently indicted on corruption charges as well.

I’m not sure why that particular geographic area should be so lawless. There’s a large immigrant population there, but that’s true in a lot of places in LA County.

Likely someone making $100k+ for part time work.

Jesus Christ.

He looks like he should be menacing Dick Tracy.

He’s too busy menacing the HomeTown Buffet.