Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And you wonder why people are grumpy

Bell, in Los Angeles County, was a working class city when I grew up.  According to the census it now has a population of about 36,000.   Median household income is about $40,000 or about a third less than the California median. 50% of the residents are foreign born. About a decade ago the city gained prominence when some Oscar statuettes were stolen from a loading dock in the city.  But even most Angelenos would be hard pressed to be able to describe the city, until now.

It seems that the bright lights of the Bell City Council agreed to pay their city manager $787,000.  Their police chief makes a paltry $457,000. (Or about twice what the Chief in LA - a slightly larger city - makes.)    The city manager is charging every resident almost $22 to pay his salary.  The assistant city manager makes a bit more than $350K.  City Council members earn a cool $100 K or more than twice what the average household income is.  (except for one newly appointed member who earns $10,000 per year).  Their salaries are all in the range of $10k but they get a bit more for sitting on city boards.  According to the LA Times, sometimes the meetings last only a minute - talk about hitting the number.

The times quotes the mayor and one city council member who "justified their salaries by lauding city services and noting that no one had been laid off or forced to take furloughs."  Gee there is a treat.

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