The city of Bell is being probed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office for paying its council members more than $8,000 a month for a part-time job that only caters to 40,000 residents. According to KTLA News, that adds up to nearly $100,000 a year. Though records say that council members were paid $150 a month, members earned thousands more for serving on various agencies and groups.
David Demerijian, head of the D.A.'s Public Integrity Division, asked for an explanation of the high pay in a letter to Bell city manager Robert Rizzo. According to the Los Angeles Times, Derjian said that under state law, part-time council members in small cities should only be paid a $400 monthly stipend.
Bell City council members said they did not think they were doing anything wrong. “I don't think we're stealing,” Councilman Luis Artiga said.
Mayor Oscar Hernandez said he knew nothing about the investigation. Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo said the figures are misleading because they include the cost of medical insurance, retirement, and other benefits.
Demerijian has said a full investigation would be launched if his office is convinced a crime has been committed.