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State orders city pay scales be made public

August 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
More fallout from the Bell salary scandal: The state is now ordering that pay scales be made public in all cities and counties. Meanwhile, there are still a lot of questions about how Bell's taxpayer money is being spent.Cristina Garcia is part of a growing club. Its members can't get information about spending from the city of Bell.

Garcia got pages of incomplete information on the pay of city council members and nothing on the city's new administrators along with old information about outgoing administrators.

"We're also trying to figure out how is the money being moved around City Hall. We know that they have a debt, and so how is it that you're also telling us that you're in the black, and is there any sort of malfeasance," said Garcia. "We're just trying to follow the money."

It all started when it was revealed that former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo made nearly $800,000 per year, and four of the five part-time city council members made nearly $100,000 per year.

Tuesday, California State Controller John Chiang ordered all cities and counties in the state to provide a report of employee and elected official salaries.

Chiang said the absence of transparency is a breeding ground for waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky wants to post all the names and salaries of county department chiefs.

"Nothing is more important than maintaining open government," said Yaroslavsky.

Eyewitness News tried to find the salary of the new interim city manager in Bell. The city clerk said it was unavailable. There also is no record of the finance director's salary. There is a record of how during the recession, the city manager was given 12-percent annual raises.

Eyewitness News went to the mayor's business and also tried calling several council members. They were not available Tuesday afternoon.

Garcia is a member of BASTA (Bell Association to Stop the Abuse), a group of local activists.

"We're getting a lot of 'It's not my fault, I didn't know' from council members and other administrators," said Garcia. "And so at least this way we get to see who signed the contract, and if you didn't know, then does that mean you didn't read the contract? You weren't doing your homework?"

Garcia and the others will keep asking questions

California Attorney General Jerry Brown opened an investigation into the scandal.


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