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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)

And nobody knew about this until now? Wow!

I have lived in Bell for 10 years. The new police chief makes $250,000 a year, Crooked City Manager over $300,000 a year and they are looting the police budget of over 3.2 million a year! This town has 25 million in the bank and they are stealing it! They steal elections via "blank absentee ballots" from the senoir citizen centers. Its about time they ALL went to jail.

"Find me the guy who wrote the check." Harry S Truman

In this small community, I believe that, that salary is ridiculous. As for the mayor’s response, of course he’s going to defend the salary, now that they’ve been caught! Anyone would defend this in order not to look ridiculous to the public. Why not look into other city council member salaries, Los Angeles for example. Council people are working part time and are to be receiving stipends, could it be that maybe everyone else is also taking advantage, why not research it? Let’s not just zero in on this working class area for whatever reason it has been done. Now that they have been discovered let’s look into other areas as well. Bottom line, this salary is absurd and I don’t care what crime rate you may have, they are not the police or the people putting their lives in danger, they are merely working part time and were taking advantage of the system. I attended the local Bell High school and it is absurd that these people would eat away the cities tax money rather than giving it to the school system at their local level. Let me tell you there schools are horrendous and breaking down. Shame on the mayor and everyone part of the council. They should be penalized and publicly humiliated or perhaps this is already taking place.

Good grief, fire two of them, and hire me, I will be willing to work full time...no problemo!!!! lol...and they wonder why California and Los Angeles are broke and about to collaps.

No shame but plenty of greed.Tens of millions of Americans with no jobs,The economy the worst since the depretion,$100,000 a year for part time work.Obamas promise of change ????????

This message is for Lydia, in regards to what she commented to Richard.

Politicians do favors for money. You stated the opposite. Yes, it's all about the money. The $100, 000 salary is just the tip of the iceburg, sweetheart. Read my earlier comment about the $3 million stunt those councilmen pulled a while back. No one but the councilmen and the former business owner can explain that one. Favors are done for the businesses and some citezens; they in return feed fat stacks of CASH to the politicians.

When it times of a bad economy the American tax payers must sacrifise but not the greedy politictions Obama where is your promise of change?

I wonder if VoiceofReason would still feel the same if we took 30% of his/her salary and paid the council members from that bucket. Hey I don't care since I don't live in that city. If they want to pay these part-time politicians out of their own pocket and don't ask for a dime from my State tax, I don't care.

So if the city is doing well then city workers or government people should be well compensated, and if the city is not doing well they should also be well compensated because there are more work? Huh????

This abuse happens from the D.A.'s office, to the police to the governors office. The poor and the har working people are simply pieces of crap to them. City workers are getting payed minimum wage now, layoffs, horrible economy, taking money out of schools... seems a revolution is inebidable. This state is hilariously retarted. This is JAIL TIME... nothing more nothing less... people see paper work behing the scenes, smiles, pay themselves off.. and when they get caught... they lie. Arrest them, BUT make them pay them money back WITH interests. This has to stop. Taxation without represintation.

"why do hispanic leaders want to turn socal into the third world they fled from?
Posted by: chris in LB"

This is perhaps the most important question of all !!!!!!!!

"why do hispanic leaders want to turn socal into the third world they fled from?
Posted by: chris in LB"

This is perhaps the most important question of all !!!!!!!!


Hmmmm...that makes a lot of sense. If the city does well then city workers should reap the benefits, and if it does badly then they deserve better pay because there is more work to be done. wow!!!

Couldn't pay me enough to work or live there.

city government always put neighbor against each other creating jobs & importance for themselves. if you apply for building even a fence or house or splitting lots or anything they are pay-per-play. the planners they hire will say no to anything using neighbor protesters as excuses - then it goes to councils who will vote on it if you give them money in political contribution, cuts, or other bribes. these local big shots are above law - they should be watched by the fed. fed can't be dictator but these local politicians are all powerful - these criminals own your houses - whole cities.

Half that amount sound right or they better work full-time. In this economy, the city better be booming or they been working overtime without overpay with results. In otherword, they had better earn every cent or they are out.

No public servant should be compensated more than the average American's wage. I recently read an article in the Times that said the average public servant's wage was $71,000 a year, almost twice as much as the average private sector worker of $35,000 a year. The question then is who is serving who? It looks like the citizens are serving its servants instead of the other way around.

And people wonder where all the tax money went to.. corrupt politicians and city workers --- bunch of paper pushing leeches.


If the residents of Bell, LA County, and any other tax paying organization allow them to get paid $100K/yr for part-time work, I commend the Council Members for "getting" away with it - legally (even tho the legality is being questioned, c'mon do you really think anything will change?)
In fact the Council Members are clearly geniuses for getting paid $100k for part-time work that in my books, they should be given a bonus to reward them for their brilliance.

KUDOS to the Council Members

Lenin,raise up and do order.

It's another sad commentary on the shakedown of poor working people, by crooked thinking, lazy opportunists who get into politics so then can rip off the people's money. Their own system makes it easy for them to do. Sometimes I think politics attracts nothing put crooks looking for a fast buck. At the same time I can't help but think there are a few honest people among 'em. These crooks give new meaning to "throw the bums out."

From the OC Register

•Anaheim, the county’s second-largest city (population 334,425), came out on top, paying its councilmembers $1,500 a month, plus expenses and a $600 monthly car allowance.
•Buena Park, population 79,664, came out at No. 2, paying $1,087 a month plus expenses.
•Tustin, population 69,665, came out at No. 3, paying $947.90 a month, plus expenses.
•Costa Mesa, population 109,809, came in at No. 4., paying $952 a month.
The most-poorly paid?

•It’s not actually in MV’s report, but the winner – loser? – is Villa Park, whose council makes zip, zilch, nada.
•Santa Ana, population 340,024, where councilmembers get a salary of $125 per month, plus expenses.
•San Juan Capistrano, La Palma and Laguna Woods pay $300 a month plus expenses.
•Laguna Niguel and San Clemente pay $400 a month plus expenses.

Give us the names of those city councel members

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