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Montebello city manager abruptly resigns

Montebello City Hall The city of Montebello, already facing the prospect that it may not be able to pay its bills by the end of this year, sank deeper into crisis Tuesday after the interim city manager abruptly resigned.

Peter Cosentini sent council members a letter informing them that he was stepping down because he was "no longer comfortable with our progress toward a balanced budget." He suggested council members hire a city manager "more in tune with your approach to municipal finance." Cosentini could not be reached for comment.

The move comes two weeks after Cosentini, who had been employed by the city for less than a year, warned council members that they needed to take "immediate corrective action" or the city would not be able to make payroll or pay its bills by the end of the year. Council members ignored his request to call a special meeting at that time.

The council did meet last week, but has not yet cut the budget.

Councilman Frank Gomez lamented that his fellow council members had not heeded Cosentini's calls to action, saying in a written statement that they are either "in denial" or "lacked the conviction to do anything to solve the problems."

But Mayor Art Barajas said council members take the budget very seriously and are carefully studying what steps to take. He said it was unfortunate that Cosentini had decided to step down.

Montebello has been riding waves of financial upheaval all year. Officials discovered two "off the books" bank accounts that contained hundreds of thousands of dollars in city funds that officials had lost track of.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley's Public Integrity Division have said they are looking into what happened with those funds. In addition, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has asked the city to return more than $1.3 million that the agency says was improperly spent.

Cosentini also informed council members last month that former city officials had used accounting tricks to hide the true nature of the city's financial picture for years, making it seem as though the city had more money than it actually did.

RELATED:

Montebello seeks 'missing' bank accounts

Cash-strapped Montebello may have trouble paying bills

Fiscal mess fuels crisis in Montebello

-- Jessica Garrison

Photo: Montebello City Hall. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (17)

Funny, for a moment ther I thought I heard a Bell chiming....

City councils aren't worth a darn.

If it's near Los ANgeles... It's doomed.... L.A. Sucks....

I hear "Bells" ringing! Ding Ding Ding! Is the City Manager FAT or SKINNY? Are the "city employees" jumping off the roof like Costa Mesa? Are the City officials "greedy"??? Like Duh.................................

This is funny how the governments want to control Vernon yet the businesses in that city are very contect with thier current counsel. That is a small city with nearly no residents and they govern themselves just fine, yet LA CITY council want to take then over. WHY? Less government people cmon it is simple. OBAMA r u listening?

To Gary,

It's actually not that far from the city of Bell.

There needs to be a standard of qualifications for a city official to deal with these types of issues.
Not to throw their hands up in the air or get their feelings hurt because they feel challenged by others on their responsibilities.
I am glad to have moved from Montebello 29 years ago, it was a good old boys club then and has become a cluster of inept leaders who are taking this city down.
Local politics in many cities are in deep wheat!

Sounds like it is all the council's fault - People have to be more careful who they elect to these things.

Of cousre he resigns...he just bankrupt that damn city and he probably leaves his post with a nice bonus. What is this world coming too. With all the tax money, how can a city go broke? Answer...crooks without masks.

And Gary...LA does not suck. Is just the people who run it.

Now if they would just fire the City Attorney who led them to this point.....

Congratulations to the city manager for sounding the alarm and then stepping down when he was ignored by the council. That shows the highest integrity and that there are good city managers out there.

Wonder where the money went?

If you think this is bad, wait until you find out how bad non profits are. We give them money and the top dogs pocket huge salaries and perks. Non profits who are scamming will be next to be found out. Why doesn't the LA Times look into non profits, are you scare the United Way will call you a bad paper so that you will stop? After all non profits are the pets of rich and powerful people who can not believe executive directors use their non profits as ATM machines. Horrible, it can not be! hahaha, wait and see.

it cost to support ILLEGAL ALIENS.

This city is in trouble because the public never had their eye on the ball , Lots of funny stuff going on with this city and it's finances ! We will be hearing about all the funny stuff in the very near future people .

Hey LA Councils why not take over the City of Montebello? Oh, yeah they don't have money.. You are only interested in City who has revenue..Like the City of Vernon.

Comment on Non-Profits:

You are correct, however the difference with non-profits is that they are not using tax money only the donations of private individuals and businesses. If they want to waste their money it's on them - just like a regular business. The public only cares when the public is footing the bill. Some NPs do get money from govt and for those cases, that should be looked at. Otherwise what NPs do is between them and their funders.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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