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Is A City Manager Worth $800,000?

Bell isn't a big town, or a wealthy one. But some of its top officials are paid two or three times as much as their counterparts elsewhere

July 15, 2010|Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives

Council members hired Rizzo in 1993 from the High Desert city of Hesperia as interim chief administrative officer with a starting salary of $72,000 a year. By September 2004, he was being paid $300,000 a year. Ten months later, his salary jumped 47% to $442,000.

His salary continued climbing $52,000 a year until July 1, 2008, when Rizzo received his usual salary increase and signed an addendum to his contract that gave him a 5% raise in September and guaranteed 12% increases each July.

His last raise was $84,389.76. Next July, he will receive a $94,516 pay hike.

Rizzo defended his salary and that of his staff and the council by saying they don't receive car or cellphone allowances and must pay their own way to out-of-town conferences.

However, according to their contracts, Rizzo, Spaccia and Adams can be reimbursed for their expenses. Bell council members are also eligible for reimbursements as board members of several city commissions, according to city resolutions.

Adams, who said he spent $6,000 of his own money to buy furniture for his office, was hired after retiring as the police chief in Glendale. His salary of $215,304 more than doubled when he took the job in Bell.

Spaccia was hired July 1, 2003, at $102,310. A year later, she was making $130,000. She currently earns $376,203 and gets the same 12% annual increases as Rizzo.

Spaccia has been on leave since February while serving as acting city manager for Bell's troubled neighbor Maywood, with her salary being paid by Bell's taxpayers.

"We have a neighbor in trouble," said Rizzo, a short heavy-set man with reddish-brown hair. "If your neighbor's yard is messed up, it brings down your property values. Is it a unique situation? Definitely."

On top of his salary, Rizzo recently received an added boost -- the council voted to give him an extra week's vacation. He now gets five weeks.

jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

ruben.vives@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Government officials' salaries

* Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo $787,637

* President Barack Obama $400,000

* Los Angeles County Chief Executive William T Fujioka $338,458

* Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana $256,803

* Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa 232,425

* Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi $223,500

* Dana Point City Manager Douglas Chotkevys $203,483

(Dana Point has the same population as Bell)

* Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger $173,987

(Schwarzenegger has declined to take his salary)

* Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez $109,584

Source: Times reporting

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Police officials'salaries

* 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

* L.A. County Sheriff

Lee Baca $284,183

Oversees 18,000 personnel; 9,632 are sworn officers

* New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly $205,180

Oversees 50,000 personnel; 35,000 are sworn officers

* Manhattan Beach Police Chief

Rod Uyeda $179,388

Oversees 100 personnel; 65 are sworn officers

Source: Times reporting

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