Lawyer who approved lavish Bell salaries won't be interim city attorney

The Bell City Council has decided not to hire the attorney who signed off on lavish pay for the city's top administrators as its interim city attorney, it was reported today.

The decision not to appoint Edward Lee came Wednesday after a closed- door session, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Angry residents packed City Hall to demand that the council not appoint Lee, but look to another firm, which it did, The Times reported. The council voted to appoint James M. Casso, a lawyer with the Meyers Nave firm, as the interim city attorney.

Lee had served as Bell's contract city attorney since the 1990s. He was a partner at Best, Best & Krieger until Monday, when the firm announced his departure and the termination of its contract with Bell. That left the city considering whether to name Lee as the interim city attorney.

Last week, concerned by his association with Bell, the Downey City Council voted to terminate the city's contract with Lee and Best, Best & Krieger. In Covina, officials had said they were considering similar action, but Lee resigned his post there on Tuesday.