Mayor sorry for high pay, to work for free

July 26, 2010 at 11:57 PM
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BELL, Calif., July 26 (UPI) -- The mayor of Bell, Calif., Monday apologized to residents for the salaries city officials are paid and said he will accept no pay for the remainder of his term.

In a news release, Mayor Oscar Hernandez said he will not run for re-election and blamed the city council for what he called "indefensible administrative salaries," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Hernandez, whose term expires in March, said he would "dedicate the remainder of my term to spearheading our city's cooperation with the Los Angeles County district attorney and the California attorney general's inquiries."

City Council members agreed Monday to take a 90 percent pay reduction, giving up their $96,000-a-year salaries and taking just $673 a month, the Times said.

The mayor's announcement came the same day California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued subpoenas for salary and employment records in an inquiry into whether Bell officials violated any laws in setting large salaries for administrators and city council members. Brown said the inquiry was in response to the newspaper's recent stories on salaries in the mostly Hispanic community of 38,000 located 10 miles southwest of Los Angeles.

City Manager Robert Rizzo, Police Chief Randy Adams and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia last week agreed to resign and give up their salaries. Rizzo was paid $787,637 a year, Adams received $457,000 and Spaccia's salary was $376,288 -- all well above the pay for comparable positions in other cities, the newspaper said.

"These outrageous pay practices are an insult to the hard-working people of Bell and have provoked righteous indignation in California and even across the country," Brown, who is running for governor, said.

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