City of Bell Postpones Investigation of High Salaries

Bell City Councilman Lorenzo Velez Monday called for an investigation into the city's finances

Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010  |  Updated 6:46 AM PDT
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The Bell City Council Monday night took no action on a call for an investigation into the city's finances in the wake of reports that many city leaders are receiving salaries that are some of the highest in the nation.

   The City Council will again discuss the call from Councilman Lorenzo Velez next Monday.
  
Velez said before the meeting he was ``appalled and outraged at the recent revelations concerning the salaries of city officials, the chief of police and above all the city manager and his assistant.''
  
The city pays Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo $787,637 annually, and pays police Chief Randy Adams $457,000 a year, about 50 percent more than Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck or Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, the Los Angeles Times reported.
  
Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia is paid $376,288 annually, which is more than most city managers are paid.
  
Velez, who was appointed to the council in October, said he makes about $310 every other week.
  
``Had I known about these outrageous salaries, I would have never agreed to be part of this process,'' Velez said.
  
Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez defended the salaries, and he and other city council members told The Times that their city was near bankruptcy when Rizzo came aboard. Since then, they said, he has put Bell on sound financial footing, with its general fund nearly tripling to about $15 million.
  
City spokesman Pedro Currillo echoed that sentiment today.

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