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August 18th, 2010 2:47 pm
City of Bell Corruption Impacting Other Cities

In a year or two, we may look back on the City of Bell public employee compensation scandal as the modern day equivalent of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.  Both stories showed the general public how bad a particular industry behaved, and prompted serious, far-reaching reforms.

The chief villain in the Bell fiasco (so far) is its former city manager Robert Rizzo.  At the time of his resignation, Rizzo was making close to $800,000 a year, and due to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from his public employee pension.  Now that he’s retired, the pension is kicking in – and so are taxpayers in cities that share Bell’s pension pool.

That means that Hesperia, CA, is on the hook for $80,000 of Rizzo’s estimated $600,000 a year pension (not to work!), even though it fired Rizzo after his four year stint ended in 1992.  Taxpayers in Rancho Cucamonga will be paying $160,000 of the bill, with Bell and other cities who never even hired Rizzo chipping in the rest.

And remember, the estimated $600,000 is owed to Rizzo – by law – every year for the rest of his life.  After being fired by at least two of the cities that hired him.  Insane.  Public employee pension reform may not be a “sexy” issue on the campaign stump, but it is certainly a topic that is sure to get people’s attention during this era of runaway government spending.

The Bell scandal may be the the last, best chance to reign in the power of the public employee unions before they ruin the American economy.

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