and $650K state pension for life!
but he and the guys on the Bell city council who also voted themselves fat paychecks have just quit.
Not a good year for Bell city manager Robert Rizzo. In March, he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. Last week, the Times reported he makes $787K a year. (Courtesy of AP)
The number defies logic. Yet there it is, in the LA Times, for all the world to see: 787,637. That's the annual salary for Robert Rizzo. He's not a lawyer or a corporate exec. According to a the Times, he's the city administrator for Bell, one of the poorest towns in Los Angeles County.
Rizzo isn't the only one with a big fat paycheck. Two other Bell employees are pulling in astronomical incomes. Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia makes $376,288 and Police Chief Randy Adams makes $457,000.
To put things in perspective, the Times listed the annual salaries of other public servants who have to run bigger places like Los Angeles, California and, oh, the United States. Here's a rundown of salaries:
Bell Chief Administrative officer Robert Rizzo: $787,637
-- Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana: $256,803
-- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: $173,987 (Schwarzenegger has declined to take his salary)
-- President Barack Obama: $400,000
Bell Police Chief Randy Adams, $457,000
(Oversees a department with 46 personnel; 33 are sworn officers)
-- Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck $307,000
Oversees 12,899 personnel; 9,959 are sworn officers.
If these figures aren't enough to make you choke on your Cheerios this morning, Rizzo's response might. In response to the scandal, Rizzo, who received his bachelor's from UC Berkeley and his master's from Cal State East Bay, told the Times:
"If that's a number people choke on, maybe I'm in the wrong business. I could go into private business and make that money. This council has compensated me for the job I've done."
The City Council has compensated themselves well, too, thanks to a ballot initiative. In 2005, California approved a law that placed salary caps for council members in "general law cities." That same year, Bell leaders approved a special election (which, by the way, cost $40,000 to $60,000) with one ballot item that would give Bell charter status, according to today's Time story. The measure passed, allowing council members to earn huge wages for serving on boards and commissions. Council members make $7,873.25 each month -- for part-time work. They also approved a contract that gave Rizzo an annual raise of 12%.
The rise of Rizzo's salary.
The fallout has been swift and fierce. Since the story ran last week, the county D.A.'s office and the state are opening investigations, while Rizzo, Spaccia and Adams are quitting. And while they won't get severance packages, Rizzo is entitled to a state pension of $650,000 a year for life.