Calif. Assemblyman promises legislation to better monitor salaries of city officials

In response to the fallout over Bell officials' salaries, California Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate, is among California lawmakers who say they want to regulate what other cities pay their executives. Although some of those officials have resigned or slashed their salaries, De La Torre said his office is drafting legislation he expects to introduce this week.
In response to the fallout over Bell officials' salaries, California Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate, is among California lawmakers who say they want to regulate what other cities pay their executives. Although some of those officials have resigned or slashed their salaries, De La Torre said his office is drafting legislation he expects to introduce this week. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

In response to the fallout over Bell officials' salaries, some California lawmakers say they want to regulate what other cities pay their executives.

Democratic Assemblyman Hector De La Torre of South Gate is front and center in an effort to crack down on city officials who make what he described as an obscene amount of money.

"It is just so offensive to people in this economic climate, in the middle of high unemployment, and other very difficult times for people to see someone making almost $800,000 and these other couple of individuals making around $400,000 a year of taxpayer money is just so offensive to them," said De La Torre.

Although some of those officials have resigned or slashed their salaries, De La Torre said his office is drafting legislation he expects to introduce this week.

"(We're) looking at some way of curtailing the abuse practices of salaries and/or some of the benefits that were built into the contracts for these individuals," De La Torre said. "We want to make sure that doesn't happen again."

He maintained that members of many city councils can hide behind a California city charter measure that shields them from state limitations on salaries.

At about the same time Bell became a charter city several years ago, De La Torre had drafted a bill that clamped restrictions on some council members' pay.

Some members who sat on the city council part time took home close to $100,000 a year - way over what the state says a city council member typically makes in a city like Bell.

That figure is closer to $400 a month.

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