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Bell city manager received alcohol counseling after March DUI arrest

July 22, 2010 |  4:15 pm

The city manager of Bell, under fire for being perhaps the highest-paid city administrator in the state, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving near his home in Huntington Beach earlier this year.

Robert Rizzo, 56, was arrested in March with a blood-alcohol level of 0.28, more than three times the legal limit, in the 1900 block of Pine Street in Huntington Beach at 9:50 p.m. March 6, said Huntington Beach Police Lt. Russell Reinhart.

A resident called police after a man, alleged to be Rizzo, crashed into their mailbox and then drove into an alley, Reinhart said. Rizzo, who was charged with misdemeanor drunk driving, faces a maximum sentence of six months in jail, said Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office. Rizzo pleaded not guilty to both charges June 8 and is expected back in court Aug. 5 at the West Justice Center in Westminster.

According to court papers, Rizzo sought alcohol abuse counseling after the arrest.

Laura Bowen of Chrysalis Care was quoted in the court file as saying: "Mr. Rizzo sought out my assistance immediately following his arrest for suspected DUI. I have been treating Mr. Rizzo on a weekly basis since March 7, 2010." She also states that Rizzo's therapy is "weekly two-hour sessions, covering chemical dependency education, relapse prevention, stress management, cognitive behavioral training and coaching in healthy coping strategies."

— Britney Barnes and Corina Knoll

Photo: Huntington Beach Police Department.

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