Probe Launched Into Excessive Local Government Salaries

Spurred by the outrageously high salaries paid to public officials in the city of Bell, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today launched a joint investigation with CalPERS into the compensation paid by Bell and other local governments throughout the state.

“These outrageous salaries in Bell are shocking and beyond belief,” Brown said. “With record deficits and painful budget cuts facing California cities, astronomical local government salaries raise serious questions and demand a thorough investigation.”

Brown’s probe will examine records to determine whether any illegality, self-dealing, or other improper activity occurred in Bell or other cities and counties in the state.

The Attorney General’s investigation was launched after recent Los Angeles Times articles reported that Robert Rizzo, the Bell city manager, is paid nearly $800,000 a year, making him the highest-paid city manager in the state. Police Chief Randy Adams is paid $457,000 and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia is paid $376,288 a year. Most city council members are paid nearly $100,000 for their part-time jobs.

Bell, in southeast Los Angeles County, has a population of 40,000 that includes a high percentage of low-income residents.

Peter Mixon, General Counsel of CalPERS, the state’s public employee retirement agency, said, “CalPERS welcomes working collaboratively with the Attorney General’s office to investigate the facts and circumstances regarding pension and related benefits for the city of Bell.”

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