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Robert Rizzo loses another job -- volunteer parking lot attendant at Huntington Beach surfing museum

January 13, 2011 |  5:54 pm

Rizzo Former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo is out as the parking lot attendant at the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach, a volunteer job he apparently lined up to earn community service hours for a DUI conviction.

Rizzo’s volunteer work at the museum -- largely making sure that non-museum visitors didn’t use the tiny, beach-front lot -- was revealed by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez. The column included a photo of Rizzo wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat and sitting in a folding chair in front of a colorful mural of surfers.

Rizzo was forced from his job as Bell’s city administrator after The Times revealed the extreme salaries of officials in one of Los Angeles County’s poorest cities. He was subsequently arrested and charged with misappropriation of millions of dollars in city funds.

The ex-city manager, who lives in downtown Huntington Beach, apparently was volunteering at the museum as part of a community service requirement related to a DUI incident in which he crashed into a mailbox.

“He found us and said he wanted to do some volunteering service,” said Kitty Willis, a docent at the museum. “We always look at our volunteers to make sure that their volunteer service does not impact the museum negatively ... and apparently it has and he’s no longer here.”

Willis said Rizzo was not on the museum’s payroll, but was there to “volunteer his time.” At least one person complained about Rizzo working at the museum.

Willis said volunteers at the museum are sometimes court-appointed, often teenagers who’ve been picked up for violating curfew.

“The focus of the museum is the surfing community and making sure that any of the volunteers that we allow to come in here and do their time don’t have a negative impact and he did,” Willis said. “So he’s not here and won't be coming back ever.”

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Robert Rizzo volunteers earlier in the week at the surfing museum. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times