Morro Bay sucked into City of Bell scandal

August 3, 2010

Taxpayers in Morro Bay are about to find out they’re on the hook for the pension bills of disgraced public officials in a city more than two hundred miles away. [LA Times]

A public firestorm erupted earlier this summer in the small Los Angeles suburb of Bell, when it was discovered that city officials were paying themselves as much as $800,000 a year. Several officials were forced to resign.

However, more than half of former city manager Robert Rizzo’s $600,000-a-year pension will be spread among 140 small cities and special districts such as Ridgecrest, Norco and Morro Bay that are in the same pension liability pool as Bell.

In the case of former police chief Randy Adams, Bell escapes nearly all the costs of his estimated $411,300 a-year pension. Under CalPERS rules, the city is responsible for just three percent of his pension because he only worked there for one year. Taxpayers in Glendale, Simi Valley and Ventura will have to pick up the rest.

Other cities will be on the hook for much of Rizzo’s and Adams’ pensions costs even though their salaries were relatively modest until they landed in Bell. When they resigned last week, Rizzo was making nearly $800,000 a year and Adams was making $457,000.

CalPERS last week said it is putting both the Adam and Rizzo’s pensions on hold pending multiple investigations into Bell’s lavish salaries.

CalPERS manages retirements for 1.6 million active and retired employees. An estimated 90 percent of public agencies in California participate in the retirement system.

Despite the controversy, public pensions are difficult to rescind. Courts have repeatedly upheld the contracts in favor of employees, said Stephen Silver, an attorney who specializes in public pension law.


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4 Comments

  1. rod says:

    Economic Collapse, and Bankrupcy are the answer.

    Why should WE in the PRIVATE sector work hard to make a small fraction of what the
    gov’t worker does, with no pension or benefits ? It’s time to kick back and whatch the dollar
    collapse, and the system collapse. Work just enough to get buy, and FORCE bankrupcy
    on them. THEY work for US, not US for them.

    (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  2. Willow says:

    The reason the courts uphold paying out ridiculous pensions to people who don’t deserve it is because the judges and all the court employees are protecting their own pensions and are setting court “precedent” to try to ensure no one messes with their little gold mine in the future.

    The whole system is corrupt.

    I hope people understand – 99% of the people on the government dole don’t care about you.

    As much as idealists want their ideals, the sad reality is that this is still a dog-eat-dog world and everyone is out for themselves, so the best thing the public can do is keep an eye on everything their elected officials do, go to meetings, speak out, don’t make it easy for them to impose themselves on you, and keep kicking incumbents out before they get corrupted. Give ’em the same line they give us whenever they pass their “laws” – “it’s for your own good”. lol

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  3. The Gimlet Eye says:

    Just more proof that this state, like the country as a whole, is run by gangsters. Boss Tweed and Capone would be proud.

    (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  4. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Another case of pensions killing cities and the state. Gee, imagine that. (Sarcasm intended)

    (18) 20 Total Votes - 19 up - 1 down

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