Proposed Bell budget includes cuts, layoffs

BELL, Calif.

The newly elected council members will take up the proposal next week.

Bell was in as much as $4.5 million in debt as the result of a recent corruption scandal in which the city's previous leaders were accused of looting the treasury to pay themselves enormous salaries.

Eight former Bell officials are awaiting trial on dozens of felony fraud charges. Among them is former City Manager Robert Rizzo, who had an annual salary and compensation package of $1.5 million. Others include the former mayor, vice mayor and two former city councilmen, who each paid themselves nearly $100,000 a year to meet about once a month.

Carillo's proposed budget limits the city's projected expenditures for fiscal year 2011-12 to just under $13 million, about a third less than the previous year's budget.

The budget calls for the elimination of the Bell police department's three highest-ranking officers, but calls for hiring a new chief. The former chief, Randy Adams, was fired last year after it was learned he was paid $457,000 a year, or $150,000 more than Los Angeles' police chief, to run a department of about 40 people. He has not been charged with a crime.

Carrillo also called for leaving two previously high-paid city administrative positions unfilled and eliminating other city jobs. He would add four police officers but pay their salaries with federal grant money.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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