Bell to discuss firing high-paid officials

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Bell city officials make two and even three times the amount that officials of other cities do

The Bell City Council is considering firing its police chief and two top administrators whose high salaries sparked outrage in the small suburb southeast of Los Angeles.

The council members — most of whom make nearly $100,000 a year for part-time work — have scheduled a closed-door session Thursday to discuss the dismissal of Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo. Rizzo makes more than $787,000 a year to run the city of about 40,000 people. That's nearly twice the salary of President Barack Obama.

The council also will discuss dismissing Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia and Police Chief Randy Adams, who earns 50 percent more than Los Angeles' police chief.

Jessica Levinson with the Center for Governmental Studies told KPCC’s Larry Mantle today that even if people in Bell don’t like that city manager Robert Rizzo makes $800,000 a year, everything he’s doing is legal.

“Unfortunately a lot of reform happens as a result of scandal. We’ve seen that so many times when it comes to reform laws. I am so glad that this issue is getting so much attention and it’s already being debated very hotly between the gubernatorial candidates and our sitting governor. I hope that we’ll get some real reform.”

If Rizzo takes advantage of certain legal loopholes, his yearly pension could increase by almost $300,000 from its base of $600,000. The city manger could make more in retirement than on the job.

The district attorney's office is investigating to see if the salaries violate California law.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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