State AG Jerry Brown subpoenas Bell City records in pay scandal

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California Attorney General Jerry Brown speaks during a news conference on July 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Brown, who is also the democratic gubernatorial candidate, said his office has issued subpoenas for hundreds of employment, salary and other records from the city of Bell, as part of an investigation into the hefty salaries being paid to top administrators and elected officials.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday subpoenaed hundreds of employment records from the city of Bell, where the chief administrative officer made nearly $800,000 a year.

Brown told a news conference in downtown Los Angeles that Bell's city charter may prohibit the large salaries that the City Council paid itself and the chief administrative officer.

“The charter of Bell says that the salaries that are paid should be commensurate with the duties of the office," Brown said. "Commensurate legally means that there is a proportionally, there’s a relationship between the pay and the work.”

Brown conceded that cities have wide latitude when it comes to pay. But he said he’ll consider filing criminal or civil charges.

Last week, three top Bell city officials resigned. On Monday, the city council discusses its own salaries. Four of the five council members make $100,000 a year for their part-time work.

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