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$100,000 salaries for council members in small town of Bell: Is that a crime?


The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is investigating why city council members in the small, working-class city of Bell are paid nearly $100,000 a year for a part-time job.

Bell is in the news because it has agreed to take over most city operations for neighboring Maywood, which announced it will lay off all its employees on July 1.

Public Integrity Division prosecutors said a review of Bell city records showed that council members each received $8,083.25 per month. Prosecutors say that under state law and based on population, part-time council members in small cities should be paid a $400 monthly stipend (council members in Maywood earn about $300 a month). Prosecutors have asked the city for an explanation.

Bell officials say the D.A. office's numbers are misleading because they include the cost of medical insurance, retirement and other benefits, but they also defend the compensation.

"The average income for a person in our area is $32,000 and $38,000 a year," Mayor Oscar Hernandez told The Times' Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives. "In a troubled city, the city council should get paid a little more."

What do you think? Share your views below.

Comments () | Archives (190)

The council members need to be in jail.

No! City councilpeople should be paid according to how well they run or ruin their city! City government should be run just like any other business!

Wait a minute! Mayor Hernandez says "In a troubled city, the city council should get paid a little more." What kind of pretzel logic is that??? In a troubled city and in a troubled economy, shouldn't the city council get paid a LOT less??? What a complete MORON! No wonder the state is going bankrupt, because of greedy, corrupt fat-cat politicians like Hernendez!

Until we see jail time for this type of abuse, this will just keep getting swept under the rug.

Unfortunately this is not uncommon. School programs get cut. Summer Programs get cut. Medical services are cut. Crime prevention services get cut. Most government offices have third world technology and facilities, but these guys justify 6 figure incomes FOR PART TIME WORK because the city is in trouble. And I am sure they are unanimous in agreeing that taxes need to be raised and fees have to be implemented to raise "much needed revenue" to save their troubled city.

100k for a part time job? Seriously? Really? Unless their part time jobs are finding a cure for cancer, or some other fatal illness, then these council members should ashamed of themselves for even suggesting such a thing. I wonder how the schools are in that city?

these people are stealing from the tax payers, get rid of them

Business as usual.
Why do think our state is in such bad shape?
Fiscal abuse at every level of government.

I agree with Mayor Hernandez. Elected officials put up with all sorts of problems created by city staff. You have to mirco-manage to get anything done correctly. At the end of the day, the city's performance is a reflection on its leaders and the pressure is always on. I agree that you should be compensated rightly for having to supervisory a very bureacratic process. With that kind of salary, local residents should be assured that their potholes and their streetlights are being taken care of. In the City of Bell, we don't have those types of problems. We are blessed to have a mayor like Mayor Hernandez and he and the City Council deserve full compensation for their work.

Of course, they shouldn't get paid a lot less. You want someone running your city that's only going to do it for $25k?!

They just apprehended one of biggest Drug kingpins of Mexico living undercover in that area. That city is an extension Drug Cartel Mexico annd council members need to be bought for illegal activity too.

The closer one is to the til, the more one will benefit !!

The closer one is to the til, the more one will benefit !!

This is nothing new.....it's like this all over the state and not just city councils. In the Inland Empire, there are School District members that are being paid $100,000 a year to start with a monthly car allowance of $700. And we wonder why teachers are being laid off. So why isn't the California State Attorney General looking into such things as this. Oh, that would be one politician looking at another politician......so much for justice.

Oscar Mayor=Tijuana Logic.


The mayor of Bell should be hog tied, tarred and feathered and run out of the state. With the council right behind him.

You have to be kidding. Sounds like a tribal thing going.

Where do I sign up?
Sound like a good job to me.
I can pass an Anti- Arizona law like everyone else and then not enforce it....

Is it a crime? No. Is it a disgrace ? You bet. It's a disgrace because the Democrats, and their public employee toadies, rant and rage about how Prop 13 has decimated public finances. Yet it's had no impact on their salaries. Hmmmm.....

Since when is $100K "a little more" than $38K? That's way more than DOUBLE! They shouldn't make more than $50K. That is a LITTLE more. Thank you for adding to our deficit. I think all politicians should get a drastic pay cut. They get paid way too much for the little they do.

As a City of Bell resident,$ 32000 is NOT the average income.


Is this the same Oscar Hernandez who claims he did not know that one of his rentals was being used as a METH LAB capable of producing 20 pounds at one time. I don't think there is pride in the city. I think what drives these council members is to see where else they can turn a profit for themselves.

the only reason these cities are still alive are due to the nearby cardrooms and the tax revenue they generate.

if you ever have the chance to randomly drive through bell, bell gardens, cudahy, maywood, you will see these council members are not doing their jobs.

why do hispanic leaders want to turn socal into the third world they fled from?

The council members are usually total idiots. The irony of of it is less you know more you get paid. LA city council member will be voting about giving an exemption to Arizona's red light photo enforcement company despite of boycott. (From the entire council nobody knew that is Arizona's company). Average salary of LA council member is $172K.

I think 8000 dollars is to much for part time work but no one is going to do that job for less than $3000 a month

Not a crime but a shame. It's all about the mighty dollar and ANY way to get it despite the consequences. Americans in general are super greedy. These council members can get away with paying themselves that amount so they will take it. If they could get away with more they would. And that comment, " we should be paid a little more" A LITTLE MORE, $100k for a p/t gig...cmon man.

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