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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)

Since when do part-time employees receive such lush benefits? Is that because the tax payer is footing the bill? Sounds criminal to me!!

In our society, we only value prison guards, athletes, and entertainers enough to pay them for than $100,000 per year. It makes sense that we don't want government officials taking bribes and that the average Joe is better than a rich person who doesn't need the money to be in office, doesn't it? Why not pay them fairly and keep the special interests out of power?

Think about it, you have the fox guarding the chicken house. This nonsense about city officials controlling wages and salaries is ridiculous. Maybe it's about time that the citizens of the city and county in which they live decide how much an employee of theirs should be paid. Perhaps an unbiased committee of community leaders and just normal people, individuals who have had it with city officials, county leaders, and state representatives taking advantage of the hard earned taxes that we work so hard for.

Oscar Hernandez is not following his own rules!! He sells alcohol in his store located accross the street from Corona elementary school.
he also runs a taco stand behind his store which I'm sure does not meet the safety and clenliness standard that it shuld.

This is an abuse on tax payer's money. This is also why any position being paid by tax payers should be public...it helps keep people accountable. How can one justify paying people of small towns more than the President of the US. Really now?

The only people taking pay cuts are those of us who are at the bottom of the chain. If all these OVERPAYED ripoff leaders were payed right this USA would be in great shape. Don't forget our tax dollars paid millions to the same people on wall st. that destroyed us thanks to our govt..

50-60K would be about right if they put in about 20 hours or so per week (part time) assuming preparation tiem for meetings etc. However, no medical benefits ,vacation, retirment etc should be provided to PART time employees....100K is ridiculous. 100K sounds like full time pay for part time work.

where is the timekeeping / timecards/ audits? just how many hours per week did these guys actually put in? if 1-2 hours per week since its part time should be <10K/ year.

First step in fixing this problem is by removing all close door meeting. What do all these politicians have to hide.

You get the government you deserve.

Keep voting in the same folks and you get the same results.

Deal with it.

Or do something about it - preferably before it gets out of hand, not after the fact.

Those who defend alcoholics are often alcoholics. Rizzo was arrested for a DUI at a .28 percent. You don't get to that level if you're a non-addict (just try it). Corruption is usually fueled by alcoholic egomania and I suspect this entire city's bureaucracy will prove to be no exception to the general rule.

I bust my behind every day in a corporate job.
This is a perfect exsample of why we are in this mess , no jobs schools all messed housing market screwed up its thief's like this.
Do you really need all that money ? Money is evil is what my dad taught me for all you thiefs in city hall and all you others making super high salaries I hope you sleep good at night taking all that money from poor working class. Its about time we find out who the real thieves ...are.
what happen to good morals.
the governer for ca i can tell hes doing a grea job my advise you can get away with all you steal but on e day you will get caught shame shame on you.
to th governer president stick your head off you behind these are the real problems employee theft do something about this white callar crim e sorry about my english u understand what i mean....

where are the names of the 100k crooks? why are they left out?

These city officials are crooks and should be procecuted. Bell residents need to continue the pressure to get to the bottom of this. There are layers and layers of corruption to be exposed. It is the responsibility of the State to get to the bottom of this. It is up the the Bell residents to push push push and get these taxes lowered and put some people in office who actually care about the city. enough said.

Have you noticed that each official has fat necks. Living high on the hog.

For two years I made attempts to bring interest by the Public Integrity Division and the Governors office to the ongoing situation of corruption, discrimination, breaking state and federal laws, all at the City of Glendale (Los Angeles County) and all without any help whatsoever. Unfortunately, when incorporated cities exercise a total immunity to federal laws and manifest loudly their non-liability and their city managers laughing suggest "go ahead, sue us and good luck to you", the only way anyone will wake up in this society of self perpetual endorsements will be nothing less then riots.

James Starbird, City of Glendale Manager, about $300,000/annual salary
City Council Members, about $50,000 per year for part time work
All in all there are more than 550 city employees with six figure salaries

Frankly, The Integrity Office seems not to do anything at all until it blows at another source. I would rather than seeking imaginary terrorists for the FBI, see them take a very close look at local corruption which takes us all down from the very inside.

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