Vernon council pay cut won’t happen for years for some members
Despite a series of reforms and pay cuts approved by the city of Vernon on Thursday, current City Council members will continue earning among the highest salaries in the state for such positions, about $70,000 a year, until they finish their five-year terms, officials said shortly after council's special meeting.
The pay cut to $25,000 will only take effect if the councilmen are elected or appointed to a new term.
For example, Councilman William McCormick, who was reappointed to his seat last month, will earn the same salary until the year 2016, and Councilman Richard Maisano will receive the high pay until 2015. Unlike many cities, Vernon's council members serve staggered terms so that only one official comes up for reelection each year.
The pay cuts were part of a major reform package that was unanimously approved by the council. Other changes include salary caps for city department heads, term limits for the council members and the creation of an advisory commission to manage city-owned housing.
The reforms were Vernon's latest response to AB 46, an Assembly bill calling for the city to be disbanded and transferred to the oversight of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The bill's author, Assembly Speaker John Perez, has argued that disincorporation is the only solution to problems of corruption in the city, which has more than 1,800 businesses but fewer than 100 residents.
John Vigna, a spokesman for Perez's office, called the reforms "disingenuous."
"If they were interested in real reforms, they would have put teeth into it, instead of having these sorts of loopholes," Vigna said.
The council did not debate any of the resolutions prior to the vote. Mayor Hilario Gonzales spoke briefly at the end of the meeting, thanking those in attendance and vowing that the city would continue to exist "for another 100 years."
Fred MacFarlane, the city's spokesman, said the reforms were not designed to favor certain council members.
"A lot of factors went into the discussion, with an eye toward making substantive change and securing approval of the package itself," he said.
MacFarlane noted that reductions to the council's health and retirement benefits will take place in July.
Vernon's council members were not available to comment.
-- Sam Allen in Vernon
Photos: Members of the Vernon City Council are, from left, Mayor Hilario Gonzales, William McCormick, Daniel Newmire, William Davis and Richard Maisano. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times