Vernon city salaries rival those of Bell

VERNON, Calif. Vernon is a city that has only 100 residents, but as the city crest says, it is an industrial town that, according to its website, is home to 1,800 businesses that employ approximately 50,000 workers

Like its neighbor, the city of Bell, there are some hefty city salaries in Vernon.

According to the city of Vernon's own website, the five members of the city council take home salaries of just over $68,000 per year.

Vernon's director of finance and treasurer makes nearly $340,000 per year. The director of community services and water made just over $220,000 per year.

The Vernon city administrator, fire and police chief are just over or near the $200,000-per-year range.

The one that's raised eyebrows is the $1.2 million for special legal counsel.

"They're serving the people but instead, I think they're robbing them," said Letty Calzada, who works in Vernon. "So I think maybe that needs to be looked at a little bit closer."

Mauricio Vasquez lives in Bell and works in Vernon. He said he sees no problem with the high salaries for Vernon city officials.

"Because it's industrial, it's OK, maybe," said Vasquez. "But in Bell, it's a totally different story. We are low salaries and people that live there, like me, I've been living there for 10 years, and they are killing us for property taxes."

In a published report, the interim city manager defends the high salaries, stating the city of Vernon brings in experts to help the city deal with complex issues.

In recent years, some former Vernon city officials have been convicted and fined on charges varying from voter fraud to using public money for personal use.

State lawmakers are now pushing a package of six bills aimed at preventing other cities from offering similar compensation.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.