Friday, July 23, 2010

California City Seeks Dismissal of Highly Paid Officials

Remember all those comments on this website the past 3 years about the growing chasm and social strife you will eventually see in Cramerica as the lifestyles of those in the public and private sector splinter?   Unfortunately the masses in the private sector still get very little transparency about what exactly is going on in terms of what they are paying their public employee brothers and sisters, but sometimes things get so egregious the press steps in and we have exposure.  Here is an excellent case below.  After you fall out of your chairs when you see the salaries, please take note of the pensions - something that is bankrupting cities, state, police departments, and schools.    [Jan 5, 2010: - US Public Pensions Face $2 Trillion Deficit] 

To repeat, this situation is so brash as to be an outlier example but directionally it shows the complete nonsense going on.  Now that the tide is washing out in the American economy, these type of things that have been going on for years under the surface are exposed.  This town is so generous that even part time work on the city council gets you a six figure salary; considering the national average pay  in America is about $36K for a full time job, that's impressive!  My favorite quote is "I work a lot" (because those in the private sector do not)

Via AP:
  •  (Bell, CA) - The City Council in this small, blue-collar suburb of Los Angeles intends to ask three administrators whose salaries total more than $1.6 million to resign Thursday or face possible firing.
  • The officials include Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, who earns $787,637 a year — nearly twice the pay of President Barack Obama — for overseeing one of the poorest towns in Los Angeles County.   The others are Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, who makes $376,288 a year, and Police Chief Randy Adams, whose annual salary of $457,000 is 50 percent more than that of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
  • All three officials under question have contracts that protect them from being fired without cause. If they refuse to quit, the city might have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy out their contracts
  • Revelations about the pay in Bell has sparked anger in the city of fewer than 40,000 residents. Census figures from 2008 show 17 percent of the population lives in poverty.  Enraged residents have staged protests demanding the firings and started a recall campaign against some council members.
  • The council members are paid well themselves — four of the five members each make about $100,000 a year for the part-time work. The county district attorney's office is investigating to determine if the council's high salaries violate any state laws.
  • "We work a lot. I work with my community every day," the mayor said.
  • The Los Angeles Times reported the salaries last week, prompting a large protest Monday at City Hall in which residents shouted and demanded that Rizzo be fired.   City officials at first defended the salaries.

I know this is a sad situation... especially if they were forced out.  But never fear residents of CA ... you are on the hook to the tune of $1M in pension payments to these folks (at least 2 of them) every 1.75 to 2.25 years.  Yes sir - a million bucks (for life) roughly every 22 to 26 months.  After all "they work a lot", unlike those folk who own their own business or work for "the man".
  • If Rizzo leaves, he still would be entitled to a state pension of more than $650,000 a year for life, according to calculations made by the Times. That would make Rizzo, 55, the highest-paid retiree in the state pension system. 
  • Adams could get more than $411,000
  • Spaccia, 51, could be eligible for as much as $250,000 a year when she reaches 55, though the figure is less precise than for the other two officials, the Times said.

[Jun 17, 2010: NY State Public Worker Pensions Revealed on New Website; Topping the List is a Teacher at $261K Annually]
[Jun 18, 2010: New York Pension Story Gaining Attention in Mainstream Press]

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