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Maywood seeks divorce from Bell, plans to outsource municipal operations elsewhere

August 10, 2010 |  8:29 am

Before an overflow crowd of angry residents Monday night, the Maywood City Council -- whose political marriage to the city of Bell made national headlines -- took the first steps toward a quickie divorce.

The council met late into the night and, after a closed session, said they would select from among five interim city manager candidates on Thursday. That interim city manager will then lead efforts to hire a new interim city attorney and to pursue contracting municipal services elsewhere.

In late June, Maywood fired most of its workers and turned over operations to its neighbor city. But the scandal over eye-popping salaries in Bell has become a "distraction," and Maywood leaders said they would look for someone else to run their affairs.

"We're caught in a situation where we need to move forward," said Maywood Councilman Felipe Aguirre. "We don't want to be distracted by things that are not germane to our city."

Aguirre said he doesn't want Maywood to "become a laughing stock of a city," a term used to describe Bell by one of its own embarrassed city council members.

Maywood officials said they had no idea about Bell's problems when they agreed to hire the city.

"We were not aware of these salaries. They were a complete surprise to me," said Maywood Mayor Ana Rosa Rizo. "I'm still digesting it all."

By agreeing to select among five interim city managers, Maywood is expected to replace Angela Spaccia, an interim city manager they borrowed from Bell. Spaccia was being paid $376,288 a year as an assistant Bell city manager, much more than most city managers. When her benefits package is included, Spaccia's salary more than doubles, to $845,960.

-- Hector Becerra

Photo: Residents pack the Maywood City Council chambers Monday night. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

More: Benefits push compensation to $1.5 million

Investigating Bell: A Times special report:

Is a city manager worth $800,000?

Interactive: How much does your city manager make?

Interactive: How the salaries got so high

Interactive: Paying too much? How property taxes compare

Video: Why do Bell officials make so much money?
Photos: Protests in Bell