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Bell misses deadline for reporting salaries, benefits

December 18, 2012 |  7:17 pm

Bell

One of the reforms that grew from the corruption scandal that engulfed Bell more than two years ago was that cities, counties and special districts in California were required to report to the state controller all wages and benefits their employees receive, from council members and city managers to janitors.

The deadline to report 2011 data was Oct. 31, a date that most of the municipalities and agencies met with little problem.

Among the 14 that failed to file? Bell.

The controller can fine the government body $5,000 for not providing the information, but the office has taken that step only once since the program was started in 2010. Tulelake in Mendocino County was fined $5,000 that year.

Bell City Manager Doug Willmore said Tuesday that the controller’s office has been notified it will receive the information from the Los Angeles County city by the end of the week.

Cities, counties and special districts are expected to report wages, which includes overtime, stipends and other pay, along with benefits, such as healthcare costs or deferred income. The information is posted on the controller’s website.

Unrelated to the salary survey, the controller’s office has sent two people to Bell this week to check on how well the corruption-ridden city is implementing reforms the controller has recommended.

After The Times revealed the high salaries Bell leaders were receiving, along with other problems, the controller’s office did several audits of the city’s books that uncovered more wrongdoing.

Auditors wrote, "We found the city's system of internal control to be nonexistent, as all financial activities and transactions revolved around one individual, the former chief administrative officer, who had complete control and discretion over how city funds were used."

Robert Rizzo, who was the city's chief administrator for 17 years, has been charged with more than 50 counts of corruption. Rizzo received about $1.5 million a year in compensation. Seven other former Bell officials also have been charged.

The trial of six former council members is scheduled to begin next month. Rizzo and Angela Spaccia, the former assistant chief administrative officer, are expected to go to trial later in the year.

Bell has posted the salaries of its employees on its website, but those figures do not include benefits. Willmore said not all of the controller’s recommendations have yet been implemented.

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-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Former City Administrator Robert Rizzo closes his eyes while listening in court. To his left is Angela Spaccia. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

 

 

 

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