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Bell should have court-appointed monitor, attorney general says

October 5, 2010 |  5:00 pm

Jerrybrown Backing off his calls for an independent receiver to run the city of Bell, state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown has instead asked city officials to agree to a court-appointed monitor who will have "complete and unfettered access to all matters relating to the City."

Brown made the request in a Sept. 30 letter e-mailed to the city. That letter, obtained by The Times, requests that the city agree to a "memorandum of understanding" by Friday. If city officials do not agree to the court-appointed monitor, Brown plans to proceed with his efforts to have a receiver appointed.

Pedro Carrillo, Bell's interim chief administrator, said he recently flew to Sacramento and met for several hours with officials from the attorney general's office.

"We will work diligently with all agencies to fix the errors and mistakes of the previous administration," he said.

The proposed monitor would have authority to investigate matters surrounding the attorney general's civil lawsuit and the criminal corruption charges the Los Angeles County District Attorney filed against eight current and former Bell leaders. The monitor would also have authority to investigate "fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, misconduct, mismanagement, or any irregularity" and interview any city official or employee.

The position would last until a month after results of Bell's municipal elections -– tentatively scheduled for March 2011 -- are certified.

"We anticipate you would agree that when a majority of the City Council is no longer facing charges of civil and criminal misconduct against the City, this will be an important milestone in the City's recovery," the letter states.

If "a new disinterested" council is not elected, the monitor would stay in place until a majority of the council is no longer facing criminal and civil cases.

-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown announces that he is filing suit against eight top officials in the city of Bell. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times