Former Bell police chief's effort to double pension is rejected
A judge has rejected an effort by Bell’s former police chief to more than double his annual pension to $510,000 a year, saying that the City Council never approved his extravagant contract and that city officials tried to keep his salary secret.
Randy Adams, who was fired as the city was engulfed in scandal, would have become one of the highest paid public pensioners in California had his request been approved.
The cost of doubling Adams’ pension would have fallen primarily on Ventura, Simi Valley and Glendale, where he spent most of his career. Ventura alone would have been on the hook for nearly $2 million of Adams’ future pension, according to state pension officials.
The ruling leaves Adams with a $240,000-a-year pension, the eighth highest paycheck in California’s largest public employee retirement system.
The decision follows a three-day hearing in Orange County last month in which Adams asserted his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination 20 times.
“It’s justice for the citizens of Bell and justice for the citizens of California who start to take a stand against pension abuse,” said City Manager Doug Willmore. “It tells Randy Adams what he did was clearly wrong, and he knew it or should have known it.”
Adams ran the tiny Police Department in Bell for just a year, but his extraordinary salary put him in a position to more than double his retirement pay. As chief, he was paid $457,000 a year, much higher than either Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck or the police commissioner of New York City.
He and other municipal leaders in Bell were fired after The Times exposed their salaries. Eight former city officials now charged with public corruption are awaiting trial. Adams is not among them.
-- Jeff Gottlieb
Photo: Former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams. Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times