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Jerry Brown's oversight proposal for Bell meets with resistance

October 23, 2010 |  7:30 pm

Jerry Brown talks Bell city officials are opposing an effort to have a court-appointed monitor watch over the scandal-rocked city, saying it could give investigators unlimited access to city documents and personnel records and help the state attorney general's office strengthen its lawsuit against the city.

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown filed suit against the city and eight current and former city leaders for allegedly plotting to enrich themselves with lucrative salaries, excessive benefits and personal loans.

Interim city leaders said they supported the legal efforts to clean up City Hall and identify the fiscal damage to the municipality, but the attorney general's effort to have a court-appointed monitor oversee and have unfettered access to all matters relating to Bell puts the small city in an awkward position.

In addition, the City Council has been unable to muster a quorum since four members — including the mayor — were arrested on suspicion of misappropriating $5.5 million from the city. Without a council vote, Interim Chief Administrator Officer Pedro Carrillo and Interim City Atty. Jamie Casso say they lack the "unambiguous authority from the city" to enter into an agreement with the state.

Even if the council is able to meet, Casso said in a response letter to Brown's office early this month, some members could be reluctant to approve a monitor and subject themselves to further scrutiny.

Read more: "Bell officials oppose court-ordered monitor."

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Jerry Brown at a press conference on Sept. 20, 2010. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times