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Huge Bell pensions will be slashed, state retirement officials say

November 12, 2010 |  6:15 pm

The huge pensions that former Bell administrators hoped to collect will be drastically reduced, the state’s largest public employees retirement system announced Friday.

The city of Bell failed repeatedly to submit necessary paperwork, provide information needed for calculating pensions and wrongly included special compensation to boost the pensions that some employees would earn in retirement.

The audit by the California Public Employees Retirement System comes after The Times revealed the enormous salaries and potential pensions of administrators and elected leaders in the small city southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo, who was the city’s high wage earner at more than $800,000 a year, stood to make at least $600,000 a year -– and potentially as much as $1 million -– in retirement. He would have been the highest-paid retiree in the state’s public employee retirement system.

The audit, however, suggest his pension would be lowered sharply, perhaps to less than $100,000 a year.

The city’s former assistant city administrator, Angela Spaccia, could lose her entire pension earnings in Bell, where she made more than $375,000 a year, according to state retirement officials. Her pension earnings in other cities where she was employed are not affected by the state audit.

Former Police Chief Randy Adams, who more than doubled his potential pension when he was hired by Bell last year, also would be knocked down.

Calculations by The Times showed he would make at least $400,000 a year in retirement -– more than double what he would have earned if he had retired just a year earlier when he was police chief in Glendale.

-- Steve Marble