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Community News: Southeast

BELL GARDENS : Council Blasted Over Consultant Hiring

July 03, 1994|BOB ELSTON

To the cries of cronyism, the City Council voted last week to award a lucrative consulting contract to a woman who has worked on the election campaigns of three City Council members.

Rosemarie Vasquez, a commentator on KABC-TV Channel 7 news who owned a jewelry business in Montebello, will be paid $4,000 per month to "improve the quality of life in Bell Gardens" as an independent consultant.

She started her job Friday.

In the 90-minute public debate Monday night about Vasquez's credentials as an educational and political activist, two views emerged.

Dozens attested to her influence as a founder of the Hispanic Coalition, a group that has raised $93,000 in scholarship money for the youths of Bell Gardens and Montebello.

"She is a known achiever," wrote Ramiro Morales, the City Council member who recommended her for the job.

But a number of residents also complained that Vasquez isn't the right person for the job because she worked on the campaigns of Maria S. Chacon, Morales and George T. Deitch this year. Also, she lives in Whittier.

Vasquez won the consulting contract without entering a competitive bid or competing against other applicants.

"They (the City Council) did not want anybody else to get this job," Deitch said.

Mayor Frank Duran and Rodolfo (Rudy) Garcia joined Chacon and Morales in voting to hire Vasquez; Deitch abstained.

Vasquez will focus on community outreach and public relations. Her duties will include promoting social services in the city and making recommendations for improving the city's monthly cable-TV show and the annual Community Health Fair.

Vasquez could not be reached for comment.

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