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Bell City Council declines to hire lawyer who approved lavish pay for top officials

August 4, 2010 |  9:06 pm

The Bell City Council decided Wednesday not to hire the lawyer who signed off on lavish pay for the city’s top administrators as its interim city attorney.

 The decision came after a two-hour closed session. Angry residents packed City Hall to demand the council not appoint Edward Lee, but look to another firm, which it did.

 Lee had served as Bell’s contract city attorney since the 1990s. He was a partner at Best, Best & Krieger until Monday, when the firm announced his departure and the termination of its contract with Bell. That left the city considering whether to name Lee as the interim city attorney.

 Instead, the council voted to appoint James M. Casso, a lawyer with the Meyers Nave firm.

 Last week, concerned by his association with Bell, the Downey City Council voted to terminate the city’s contract with Lee and Best, Best & Krieger. In Covina, officials had said they were considering similar action, but Lee resigned his post there Tuesday.

 -- Ruben Vives in Bell City Hall