The outraged citizens of Bell, California, scored a partial victory today with the resignations of three grossly overpaid city officials. The city manager, assistant manager, and police chief had drawn furious criticism for receiving some of the highest salaries in the nation for local government officials. How high is that, you ask?
In addition to the $787,637 salary of Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, Bell pays Police Chief Randy Adams $457,000 a year, about 50% more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck or Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and more than double New York City's police commissioner. Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia makes $376,288 annually, more than most city managers.
Too bad they still get their pensions:
Rizzo would be entitled to a state pension of more than $650,000 per year for life, the Times said. That would make him the highest-paid retiree in the state pension system.
At age 62, when Rizzo could also begin receiving Social Security payments, his annual pension would rise to $976,771, topping $1 million two years later.
If he lives to age 83, his annual payout would rise to $1.48 million.
Adams could get more than $411,000 per year, and Spaccia, who is 51-year-old, could get as much as $250,000 a year when she reaches 55.
Meanwhile, Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez sided with the officials and attacked the Los Angeles Times for provoking the controversy "to advance the paper's own agenda." The crowds of angry residents weren't putting up with any such nonsense, though, and quickly began calling for further resignations:
The crowd erupted in applause after the announcement but immediately yelled out questions about what would happen to council members. Four of the five council members are paid close to $100,000 annually. When their questions were not answered, they shouted: "Recall!"
Whether the Bell episode will have a truly happy ending remains to be seen. Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch interprets the scandal here. And if you're looking for another reason to hate Rizzo, read all about his drunk-driving arrest here. Trust me, it's worth checking out this, ahem, fat cat.