California

Chutzpah Denied! Fired Bell, Calif., Police Chief Will Not Get $510,000 Pension

Instead, he will get $240,000 a year, so hold the applause

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"My spike got spiked!"

Randy Adams served the city of Bell, Calif., as police chief for a year before getting fired in the midst of a scandal that revealed city officials draining the coffers for exorbitant salaries.

Adams was drawing a $457,000 annual salary for leading the police in this Los Angeles County town of 35,000, more than the police chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. After the corruption was uncovered and eight officials charged (Adams is not one of them), one might think Adams would have thanked his lucky stars he got what he got and quietly slinked away.

Don't be silly. This is California! He sued to try to keep the pension spike he would get from that one year of employment at Bell. Fortunately, a judge denied him. Via the Los Angeles Times:

A judge has rejected an effort by Bell's former police chief to more than double his pension to $510,000 a year, saying that the City Council never approved his extravagant contract and that city officials tried to keep his salary secret.

Randy Adams, who was fired as the city was engulfed in scandal, would have become one of the highest paid public pensioners in California had his request been approved.

The cost of doubling Adams' pension would have fallen primarily on Ventura, Simi Valley and Glendale, where he spent most of his career. Ventura alone would have been on the hook for nearly $2 million of Adams' future pension, according to state pension officials.

The ruling leaves Adams with a $240,000-a-year pension, the eighth highest paycheck in California's largest public employee retirement system

So even after denying Adams the pension spike, he's still in the top ten.

According to the judge, Adams was also conspiring to be granted a disability retirement so that his pension would be tax-free.  That little trick is very common in California. San Jose's pension reform initiative passed in June attempts to curb some of this behavior.

Adams is also suing the city for severance pay, remarkably enough. The city is suing right back trying to recover his salary. As the judge noted, Bell's City Council never even approved his contract.

Reason has written plenty about the Bell scandal. Click here if you don't feel like typing "Bell, California" in our search engine.