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With cuts looming, some L.A. City Council members use off-budget funds to boost their salary accounts

Members of the Los Angeles City Council will renew their efforts to address the city's budget problems Tuesday as they consider a three-year plan to deal with the deficit. But as they've debated how to whittle down the city's costs, we've noticed that some have been moving money into their office's salary accounts.

This year's budget set aside $21.4 million for salaries in the 15 council offices and allocated $7.9 million for salaries in the mayor's office, according to a recent budget memo from the city's top financial analyst.

In our story today, we detail some of the council-controlled accounts that members can use for their special projects. One is their "street furniture" fund, which captures revenue generated by ads on city bus shelters. We note that:

Since November, amid dire warnings from their financial analysts about plummeting tax revenue, nine council members requested transfers of at least $1.6 million from their street furniture accounts to buttress the money available to pay their aides.

Just last week, four council members asked for transfers into their office's salary accounts: Richard Alarcon ($389,000), Tony Cardenas  ($278,000), Janice Hahn($100,000) and Bernard C. Parks ($95,000). Their motions said the funds were needed to assist on transit-related projects. These have yet to come up for debate.

-- Maeve Reston at Los Angeles City Hall
twitter.com/LATimesReston

Related:

Villaraigosa sets sights on City Council's pet projects funds

Credit rating agencies voice concern about L.A.'s budget crisis

Risks are seen in L.A.'s plan to privatize parking structures

 
Comments () | Archives (43)

What a piece of work. Of all people Benard Parks as ethical as he is knows better. Once again it shows that the City Council is only out for themselves and could care less about what goes on in this city.

What!? council members Richard Alarcon gets pay $389,000? wayyyyy too much for making a financial mess..

This is an inspiring story of our leaders acting courageously in difficult times. I'm saving it for my great-grandchildren.

How can we have the highest paid council members and staffs in the world when we are going bankrupt? How about the $100,000 cash fund each council member has? What the 8 free city cars given to each member for their staffs?
Do they really need 24 people working for them? How about the Mayor, who has 200 employees?

What this shows is a full disconnect of the city council from the people. They don't get it. Everybody has to do their part in cutting back becuase of the looming Layoffs.

"Just last week, four council members asked for transfers into their office's salary accounts: Richard Alarcon ($389,000), Tony Cardenas ($278,000), Janice Hahn($100,000) and Bernard C. Parks ($95,000). Their motions said the funds were needed to assist on transit-related projects. These have yet to come up for debate."

- INSANE! Here is where the City of LA needs to start cutting and NOW.
Both the Council and the Mayor are total jokes!

Stop looting. These public servants are traitors posing threat to national security. California - unionized - dictatorship-communist state- stop deficit, stop debt, stop looting.

What a scam! These Bozo councilpeople have another LOOPHOLE that divertstaxdollars to pay their bloated aids. The people of LA are going to oust those up for re-election just like in Massachusetts.

I'm a DEM and disgusted with Dem controlled local, state and fed govt's who just spend unnecessisarily. There's a fricking budget crises or have those "who don't listen to their constituents and do what they want anyway" reps forgotten that??

I say cut the council and staff salaries to 30% or more because if everybody else has to tighten the belt, so does the councilpeople.

"TRICKS AND TREACHERY ARE THE PRACTICE OF FOOLS, THAT DON'T HAVE BRAINS ENOUGH TO BE HONEST." Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father

Too keep silent is to consent, posting your contentions here at the LAT is one thing, calling your representative and stressing it shows you do not support these kinds of acts.

How can the council members be given the power to move city revenues to their own funds?

They are ALL worthless.....they need to be voted out of office asap

This story doesn’t surprise me one bit. The Los Angeles City Council represents government at its worst; no integrity, with a severe double standard. People are losing their jobs in record numbers, and these so-called leaders are fattening their coffers with city money. As a tax paying resident of this city, I am appalled by the conduct of the Council, especially Bernard Parks, who as Chief of Police held police officers to such a ridiculously high standard. Parks should practice a little what he preached! Part of me wishes this city would go bankrupt just to teach these politicians a stark lesson.

Keep up the good work, L.A. Times. Expose these crooks for what they are.

I hope those council members use $ for a good cause and not just to increase their salaries when every1 else is suffering

Did you know that most Council and Mayorial aids make at least $111,000,00 to start! So I guess it's okay to lay off the little guy, those who actually work, but God Forbid preserve those outlandishly bloated elected pay checks! Maybe it's time to really fix the City and get rid of most of the elected elite.

I just wondering where is the property tax money?

ABSOLUTELY SHAMEFUL. Layers upon layers of wasteful bureaucratic "employees" who do NOTHING to move the city forward. Fire 'em all and let 'em get REAL jobs that actually contribute to society!

Its is absolutely amazing how clueless these clowns are who are running government. 100s of million in deficits, 10%+ unemployment and these losers pilfer 1.6M for bonuses and raises for their staff under the guise of "transit-related" projects. Its pathetic... If you do something like that, its embezzlement, if a City Councilman does it, its "Business as Usual" spending other people's money. Why is the DA not looking at criminal charges at this blatent theft????

Unfortunately, this story will fall on deaf ears. It won't make the front page and even if it does, nothing will change.


Thieves.

fat cats, the new breed
here is vgosa asking for layoffs and these cats are filling their pockets
ethical government is a lost hope maybe an impossible fantacy

People wake up, the problem is not more taxes but STOP the corruption that goes on behind court doors. Judges like Yaffe jailing Richard Fine, Aviva K. Bobb who killed Lee Peters and Candace J. Beason who is put in place to continue the problems are just 3 of hundreds of corrupt judges who make more money then you can imagine. Then they pretend the budget is not high enough and they threaten to cut back. Problem is the most expensive people never take a pay cut and even if they say they do they get money behind your back. Judges who we think are protecting our rights are the ones who are stealing from all of us. Bobb steals from seniors and mentally ill yet she pretends to want free legal service for the poor, its all a front to make you think she's not the evil person she really is. WAKE UP

As I previously stated in my other LA Times postings:
Where is the Shared Sacrifice by the City Council and this Patron of a Mayor?
Highest paid Elected Officials salaries in the country and even some double dippers have very lucrative City paid budget for office staff, slush funds and council-controlled fund accounts.
When I see this Patron of Mayor and the City Council “Share the Sacrifice” taking pay cuts from own salary and reducing own benefits to a “higher level” of what they are asking city employees to take. (who can not afford) Then you will see leadership by example.
Remember Angelinos, in a Corrupt Political Machine with as its leader like this Patron is only in Politics for themselves only.
This shameful attitude (take from lowest paid employees and reward highest paid employees *DWP*) taken by these Elected Officials does not deserve a vote in any future election. But only a Yes vote for any Re-Call Election.
This financial train wreck was seen coming by all elected officials before the Patron was running for re-election 2008. No action was taken due to the need of all Unions support including the 1.5 million dollars contributed by IBEW Local 18 DWP. This includes the image of a good financial status for the City in the eyes of other Big Business campaign contributors.
These Elected officials will bankrupt the city and/or lower credit rating to junk bonds status and will term out eventually and stick the taxpayers and career employees with the bill.
Stop this madness and start a Re-calling before it is too late!

LA Voters - Wake up before next election. And turn off your tv's. The ads proclaiming what wonderful, thoughtful and serious people these folks are just got thrown under the bus by their greed and shortsightedness.

These folks are padding their budget so cuts won't hurt them. It's only everyone else who will be hurt.

Bernard Parks is the biggest thief out of all these so-called overpaid leaders. And like someone else mentioned, why is Alarcon receiving almost 400K in salary for doing absolutely NOTHING? These are some of the reasons why this city is going down the toilet.

 
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About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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