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Attorney general targets high-paid California officials

September 15, 2010 |  8:52 am

State Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown on Wednesday announced a statewide probe into public salaries and benefits, focusing on local and government agencies that pay annual salaries exceeding $300,000.

The broader investigation comes as he announced civil suits against eight top Bell officials, alleging fraud, civil conspiracy, waste of public funds and breach of fiduciary duty.

Brown said in a statement released to The Times that the probe would also focus on dozens of public pensioners receiving annual pensions in excess of $200,000. Among the examples Brown cited are the chief administrator of a public hospital who earns more than $800,000 and annual compensation for a county administrator that is more than $420,000.

"Those high salaries and pensions demand prompt and comprehensive reform," Brown said in his statement.

He is calling for legislative action to establish a Compensation Commission to cap public salaries at reasonable levels, eliminate loopholes that allow exceptions to the limits on pension benefits, require a full and complete public posting of all public employee salaries, and amend the state Constitution to require that charter cities comply with salary and pension laws.

-- Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives