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State lawmakers seek to ban unemployment for elected city officials

March 8, 2010 |  1:13 pm

Alarmed that a Rosemead city councilman collected unemployment benefits after he left office, state lawmakers moved Monday to close a loophole and prevent such payments.

John Nunez was paid $11,200 in unemployment by the city after he lost a re-election bid in March 2009. The city has challenged the claim and is seeking reimbursement, according to Assistant City Manager Matthew Hawksworth. Nunez stopped collecting payments after his benefits ran out in September.

Although state law says elected officials should not get unemployment, there is some ambiguity about whether that only applies to elected state officials or those holding city offices as well, Hawksworth said. Sens. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) and Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) announced Monday that they had introduced legislation to make the law clear that it applied to all elected officials.

 "I am outraged to hear that an elected official would file for unemployment,"  Romero said, "and I am committed to ensuring that this never happens again.''

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

   

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