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Bell councilman 'ashamed,' 'disgusted' that Rizzo earned $1.5 million

Two Bell City Council members expressed shock Saturday when told that former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo was earning more than $1.5 million a year in salary and benefits.

They said they were not aware Rizzo received such lavish compensation.

Councilman Luis Artiga said he was "ashamed" after being told of the numbers. "I'm disgusted, I'm sick and I feel like crying," he said.

The Times reviewed Rizzo's benefits package for this year, which covers time off, retirement and medical and other types of insurance. The package entitled him to vacation and sick leave that totaled more than 28 weeks a year.

Bell's interim city attorney said Saturday that Rizzo's compensation package raised serious questions and that the city planned to investigate who approved the perks and whether they are legal.

Councilman Lorenzo Velez added: "I feel like I've been raped; my insides have been gutted out."

The newly reviewed records show that when the benefits package is added, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia's $376,288 salary more than doubles to $845,960. Police Chief Randy Adams' pay jumps from $457,000 to $770,046 annually.

Spaccia was to have received $188,640 in vacation and sick pay and Adams $76,428, the records show. Adams, according to his contract, was to have received lifetime medical benefits for him and his family.

Spaccia declined to comment. Adams said he was accumulating sick time and vacation days in a usual manner but was not being paid extra for the days.

-- Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives

More: Benefits push compensation to $1.5 million.

Investigating Bell: A Times special report:

Is a city manager worth $800,000?

Interactive: How much does your city manager make?

Interactive: How the salaries got so high

Interactive: Paying too much? How property taxes compare

Video: Why do Bell officials make so much money?

Photos: Protests in Bell

Comments () | Archives (32)

All the crooks in government everywhere are like this.......teachers in california, who are always whining about pay...average $70,000.....that is for 340,000 california teachers....

show me another business in california with 340,000 employees averaging $70,000....laguna teachers average $84,000.....add on benefits and each teachers cost the taxpayers well over $100,000 per year..

the president of the university of california system, Yudof's, total compensation package is over $800,000 and he gets a housing subsidy....just like a welfare recipient...only more

Calpers, the state retirement system, has $210 billion invested in wall street....while the state is broke

Calstrs, the state teachers retirement system , has $100 billion invested in wall street while the state is broke

Rizzo has a horse ranch in washington...if you remember the firstTimes articles on him

All these public employees take their huge lifetime pensions and leave the state for washington, oregon, arizona, idaho

There isn't any way Rizzo isn't getting his $600,000 pension......you can be sure everyone in government, all the way up to jerry brown is pulling for this guy...no body in government is outraged...they are all jealous

They all know how the system works.....they have pension seminars for all government employees.....there are people from the state's whose only job is to explain the pension system to other government employees

Seems like the leaders of Bell are completely asleep at the wheel. How could they not know what their own employees were earning? How dumb can you be?

Carlos Fernandez who makes over $100k in maywood has ties with the city Bell thru his family.

The headline reads that Rizzo 'earned' 1.5M. He earned it just as a bank robber 'earns' his haul.

Show me a politician that is not corrupt.


"I'm so ashamed that I'm going to keep my $100,000 salary and refuse to resign in the wake of the biggest pay scandal to hit L.A. County in a decade.

That's how ashamed I am", said the councilman.

VOTE SMART....your track record proves you're GETTING exactly what you deserve, by the people YOU KEEP RE-ELECTING.

Forget better oversight, let's fire all the teachers and tear down the University of California. Out taxes are too high, we would be WAY better off without these bloated institutions. Who do these teachers think they are with their vacations home sin Oregon, Washington and Arizona.

Subcontract everyone and everything, it's cheaper, isn't it?

Okay, so now the City of Los Angeles needs to re-post it own salary numbers to include benefits and overtime. I want to see how those numbers jump, too.

Hey bell city council your disgusted?? Well guess what we are disgusted by your incompetence! All of you need to resighn now!! The buck stops with you don't make excuses now get out!! You shouldn't be allowed to run the fry station at your local fast food joint, let alone a city!

This is undoubtedly criminal and politicians better deal with it fast or start looking for a job

however, this is nothing compared to the robbery of wall street. The top hedge fund manager made 4 billion last year (yes, 4000 million, for one year's work, about twice all the NBA players combined) - and he paid only 15% tax while you pay twice that or more. how about a look at this as well?

Can we say "Go TO JAIL", this is white collar robbery at it's finest.

CALSTATE system presidents are overcompensated, most at earning over $500,000 a year, plus housing, car, gas, living, etc living allowances. The total package for each one runs into over $1 million a year. California is facing over $21 billion in budget deficit.

You're so ashamed, shocked, and all that, well cut the blah blah blah and resign.

Andy Levinson is both prolific and extreme. I think $70k is a reasonable sum for the difficult job of an experienced teacher, especially in public schools where there are so many more administrative tasks and discipline restraints.

And a newsflash to "outrage" - the California contribution to the UC system keeps going down and down. It's now based on tuition and grants, so much so that I think we should be concerned that it is becoming a private venture.

Like that scene from "Godfather"...politics and organized crime are the same....wow.

Okay, Artiga, what are you going to do now in trying to stop Rizo's pension than just saying that you're "ashamed" and "disgusted"?

So, Mr. Robert Rizzo is making $787,000 and the administrators of Bell Community Agencies under Rizzo are at about half of Rizzo’s salaries. It is obvious to see that Rizzo is a great manipulator. The employees below Rizzo probably came up through the ranks like most everyone on the job who is promoted. So for Rizzo to justify his salary he had to compensate those around him. And if they did what he ordered, slow and gradual compensation would follow suit. Those employees who did not go along with his program were eventually forced to retire or their life was made miserable. (This can be verified) This in turn would allow Rizzo to increment his salary with out to many waves from his subordinates. This is how the Bell City Council who is to be impartial and work for the betterment of their community was taken in.

The Bell City Council actually began to believe they were worth $100,000 dollars a year for a part-time job. Was the Bell City Council naïve or greedy?

Rizzo ran city hall like a Chicago mobster, he was known to all as the PENGUIN or as “El Pengueeno”. (Italian Slang accent) My very reliable source said that during meetings with employees with whom Rizzo needed to get a message across that it looked like a scene out of “Scar Face or The Trilogy - the God Father.” These ladies and gentlemen are small city politics.

Rizzo didn't "earn" anything. He stole it from the people he was hired to represent and protects THEIR interests, not his own. He's nothing but a crook and liar and should be in jail, not collecting a 6 figure pension from the taxpayer.

Mr. Levinson.....Wait a minute. I am a teacher and I PAY INTO MY RETIREMENT to the tune of $600 a month. Yes, $600 a month is taken out of my paycheck every month for my retirement. I am not allowed to borrow off of that money, or take any of it out unless I retire or quit teaching. According to you, Mr. Levinson, in California, teachers pay $2,448,000,000 per year into CalSTRS retirement.

I worked for 30 years before becoming a teacher and I paid into Social Security all of those years. When I retire, I will receive my SOCIAL SECURITY but it will be offset by 60%. This means I will only get 40% of my Social Security.

I also pay for my own life insurance. I accepted the furlough days because it was necessary to keep more teachers so there would be less children per teacher in the classroom. Can you possibly imagine what it would be like to have 42 children per one teacher in a 2nd grade class? Can you possibly imagine what that does to a child? I gladly sacrificed for the sake of my students...YOUR CHILDREN and there is not one teacher I know that complained about the furlough days because they knew it was in the best interests of our students...YOUR CHILDREN. Teachers gladly gave up $2,000 in pay for our students...YOUR CHILDREN for those fulough days.

On top of it, with less money for supplies, I spend $2,500 a year on supplies out of my own pocket for my students without any reimbursemet. I do it for my students....YOUR CHILDREN. And...most other teachers do the same, willingy, without hesitation, without recrimination for our students....YOUR CHILDREN.

You who are complaining about teachers, Mr. Levinson...are you thinking about our students...YOUR CHILDREN? I don't think so. What you are thinking about are your own POCKETS!

If the council members quoted were one of those getting the hundred grand a year (I hear only one council member got an almost reasonable salary), then they are probably only sick that they weren't in on that. I wonder how much the council member's salaries were once benefits are counted in...

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