Bell will provide services even with council members barred from City Hall, official says
Bell's interim chief administrative officer said Thursday that the city will continue to provide municipal services despite an order by a judge blocking three indicted council members from coming to City Hall.
“We have been made aware of the judge’s order with regard to the city of Bell City Council members. As the Interim CAO, I want to assure Bell residents and merchants that the city of Bell will continue to provide uninterrupted municipal services to our constituents, as we have done so for the last seven months," Pedro Carrillo said in a statement. "The doors to City Hall will remain open and we will continue to conduct the city’s business as expected."
The judge's order could mean that the Bell City Council cannot meet until a new council is elected in March.
The city faces a potential deficit of $3.5 million to $4.5 million and has defaulted on a $35-million bond.
The scandal-plagued city southeast of downtown Los Angeles has struggled to deal with its financial crisis in part because the council has met only three times in the last five months.
Officials had hoped that the council would approve budget cuts last month, but that meeting was canceled when Mayor Oscar Hernandez and Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo called in sick. The two, as well as Councilman George Mirabal, are charged with corruption.
In holding the three sitting council members and three former council members over for trial Wednesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall said it was imperative to keep the accused council members away from city business. He noted that the council was already "effectively shut down" because Hernandez and Jacobo missed meetings.