Bell interim administrator holds onto job

BELL, Calif. Bell's interim city administrator responded to charges Wednesday that he was paid by the city without a contract. He's still in office despite efforts to get him to step down.

The Bell City Council met Wednesday for more than three hours to consider dismissing Pedro Carrillo.

It was another opportunity for angry Bell residents to vent their displeasure. The object this time was Interim City Administrator Pedro Carrillo, whose company made nearly a quarter-million dollars from the city. According to State Controller John Chiang, Carrillo's company had no contract.

In an interview after Wednesday's meeting, Carrillo presented a thick binder which he says responds in great detail to the audit. Bottom line: Carrillo was not fired by the city for any alleged transgressions.

Bell City Councilman Lorenzo Velez is the only member of the council not charged in the corruption investigation.

The eight current and former Bell city officials include former administrator Robert Rizzo. Together they have been charged with misappropriating and misusing millions of dollars in city funds.

Velez couldn't comment on the specifics of their closed-door meeting, but he was unsuccessful getting his three colleagues to fire Carrillo.

Asked if he asked Carrillo to resign, Velez said he did, but he would not comment on Carrillo's response.

"It was very surprising to me that an individual who has been working for the city for so long had no contract," said Velez.

Again Carrillo has a detailed response in his binder which he says answers all questions

"I took on the challenge to fix it, and I told them, 'I'm here to fix it and leave it better than I found it,'" said Carrillo. "When the new folks get elected, they can decide and govern for themselves."

Under city rules, if Carrillo had been fired, Mayor Oscar Hernandez would have taken over. He is charged with corruption, unlike Carrillo.

"Maybe it's good for the city that he didn't get terminated, because Oscar's the next one in line to take over the job of city manager," said Bell resident Danny Harber.

The city council was ordered to come up with a list of three names by Friday by the superior court judge that's examining Bell. The city council met the deadline Wednesday. The attorney general has already submitted his names for the list. On Friday the city could find out if it's going to be governed by a court-appointed monitor.

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