Prosecutor questions ex-Bell assistant city manager about high salaries, employment agreements

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As part of an ongoing public corruption trial, prosecutors cross-examined former Bell assistant city manager Angela Spaccia on the witness stand Thursday.  Spaccia - who is testifying in her own defense - faces 13 corruption-related felony charges. She has denied she authorized contracts awarding high salaries  to herself and others.

Under cross examination, Spaccia said in 2005 she put together a five-year budget plan for approval by the Bell City Council that did not include agreements for a dozen managers, including her and her boss Robert Rizzo.
 
Those contracts awarded significant pay raises, with Spaccia and ex-city manager Rizzo getting more than 40% increases.  Spaccia said she did not attach those contracts to a city council agenda because Rizzo told her he would handle it.  

"Rizzo ran a very tight ship," Spaccia's attorney Harland Braun said later outside court. "He didn't allow the employees to talk to the city council, and one of the city council women testified already that she wasn't allowed to talk to any of the employees other than through Robert Rizzo."  

In court Thursday, prosecutor Sean Hassett suggested one indication Spaccia and Rizzo were to receive supersize raises was a phrase in the city's 2005 budget spelling out so- called "supplemental revisions and amendments." 
 
When asked if she thought she deserved a series of pay increases that took her annual salary to more than $500,000,  Spaccia said she felt her years of experience in municipal government were helpful to the city of Bell. 
 

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