Vernon latest to have exorbitant salaries exposed [Updated]

Now it's Vernon that's been found to pay its employees high salaries. A former city official in Vernon was paid more than $1 million in each of the last four years in the latest revelation of a large salary in a small Los Angeles County city.

The L.A. Times reports Eric Fresch was paid more than $1 million in each of the past four years while working as Vernon's city administrator and deputy city attorney. Fresch was paid almost $1.65 million in salary and hourly billings in 2008.

Fresch was paid nearly $1.2 million last year and has received about $643,000 through July 31 of this year as "outside legal counsel," according to The Times.

Fresch wasn't the only highly paid city employee in Vernon, which borders South Los Angeles and has fewer than 100 residents in a largely industrial and business area. Donald O'Callaghan was paid almost $785,000 last year as city administrator and director of light and power, overseeing Vernon's city-owned utility, The Times reported. After stepping down July 20 as city administrator, O'Callaghan now makes $384,000 a year overseeing capital projects for light and power.

The salaries paid to Fresch and O'Callaghan "are beyond anything that I could imagine for a local government manager," Dave Mora, west regional director of the International City-County Management Association, told The Times.

Fresch told The Times he has performed complex legal services for Vernon and that he gradually accepted more work from the city since beginning work for it in 1986, adding that his services cost Vernon less than what a private practice attorney would have billed for similar work.

Former City Attorney Jeffrey A. Harrison earned $800,000 last year and was paid $1.04 million the year before, The Times reported. City Treasurer/Finance Directory Roirdan Burnett made $570,000.

The revelations about high salaries paid to Vernon officials follow similar reports about Bell, which coincidentally shares a border with Vernon.

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