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Bell ex-chief cop pension taps 3 other cities

July 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three Southern California cities are going after Bell's former police chief Randy Adams because he previously worked for their police departments, making him eligible for an increase in pension benefits.Glendale city officials say they will have to pay now an extra $40,000 for every year that Randy Adams is retired. And they are not alone. Both Ventura and Simi Valley are also now on the hook all because their former employee made too much money in Bell.

Adams was making $457,000 per year as police chief of the city of Bell.

The hefty salary led to his resignation last week, but that did not end California's fiscal obligations to Adams.

It's estimated he will now earn $400,000 per year in pension benefits from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS). The city of Glendale will have to foot some of that bill.

"My immediate reaction was one of shock about the level of the salaries. Clearly it's outrageous," said Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird.

Starbird says Adams served as Glendale's chief of police from 2003 to 2009 and earned less than half of what he earned in Bell.

But because CalPERS calculates retirement benefits based on an employee's highest paid salary, Glendale will now have to pay an extra $40,000 per year toward the system.

This week Starbird sent a letter to California Attorney General Jerry Brown, demanding the state immediately block Adams's pension benefits.

"These costs will come back to the city of Glendale, a portion of them," said Starbird. "And they will take resources away from needed services at a time when we can least afford it."

Before Glendale, Adams served as chief of police in Simi Valley for six years, and also worked at the Ventura Police Department for 20 years. Both cities will now have to pay out at least $40,000 per year.

"The outrage that our council feels is especially exacerbated by the knowledge that there will be $35- to $40,000 of General Fund money that is being diverted from providing services to our residents to providing one individual pension," said Simi Valley City Manager Mike Sedell.

"You know when something is right and you know when something is wrong," said Starbird. "And what's happened in Bell is just wrong, and I am disappointed in Randy didn't recognize that early on."

Glendale, Simi Valley and Ventura have joined forces in asking the attorney general to investigate the pension payouts.

CalPERS is also conducting its own investigation that could take several weeks to be completed.

Bell's Interim City Manager Pedro Carrillo said Bell is trying to be right now as transparent as possible until these investigations are complete.


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