Outrage Over Salaries of Calif. City Council Remains

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A salary scandal sparked an explosive City Council meeting in the tiny town of Bell, Calif. Monday night.

Angry town residents packed the meeting and the streets to call for the resignation of all of the council members. Their annual salaries had climbed from $7,000 to $100,000 for the part-time job.

"I can never, ever, forgive you," an emotional Marcelino Ceja, one of the residents shouted at the council members. "You need to resign today."

After a closed door session, council members announced their decision to cut their salaries by 90 percent. Two of the council members said they would not seek re-election when their terms expire.

The California state attorney general has now subpoenaed hundreds of city documents to search for any illegal activity.

"Is this some kind of immaculate decision making, where these huge salaries just pop up?" Attorney General Jerry Brown said.

The council's salaries came to the attention of the public after a Los Angeles Times investigation, based on California Public Records Act requests, showed the city payroll had several six-figure salaries.

According to the newspaper:

  • Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo made $787,637 a year, getting a series of raises since being hired in 1993 at $72,000. President Barack Obama makes $400,000.
  • Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia made $376,288 a year.
  • Police Chief Randy Adams earned $457,000 - $150,000 more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
  • Councilman Lorenzo Velez makes about $8,000 a year, in line with the part-time pay for council members of similar-sized cities. He urged his colleagues to reduce their salaries to that level.

The Bell city manager, his assistant and the police chief resigned last week.

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