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Bell-related reform bill signed by governor

July 25, 2011 |  4:32 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown took action Monday to make it harder for city council members to improperly pad their paychecks, giving his first signature to reform legislation in response to the city of Bell financial scandal.

In recent years, Bell City Council members were making more than $100,000 a year for part-time jobs by receiving stipends for serving on various boards and commissions that often met during council meetings, sometimes for just minutes.

On Monday, Brown signed into law AB 23, which requires city officials to announce, when holding simultaneous or back-to-back meetings, how much those attending the meetings will receive in stipends.

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) said his legislation addresses situations in which city council members receive one stipend for attending council meetings and separate stipends for simultaneously serving on planning commissions, library boards, redevelopment panels and public financing authorities.

"The intent is to discourage the potential abuses by making public how much officials are being paid," Smyth said.

In Bell, eight current and former city leaders were arrested in September on charges of misappropriating more than $5.5 million in city funds after a public-corruption investigation by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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