Ringing the bell at the top: Paging Chris Christie
Consider Bell. A diverse, poor offshoot of Los Angeles, Bell’s population in 2000 stood at 37,000 and its median per year household income clocked in at $29,000. But according to a blitz of media reports, city manager Robert Rizzo’s yearly salary clocks in close to $800,000.
Rizzo thinks he’s worth every penny recently claiming:
“If that’s a number people choke on, maybe I’m in the wrong business. I could go into private business and make that money. This council has compensated me for the job I’ve done.”
No kidding. But that’s not where the buck stops.
Investor’s Business Daily has the city manager’s yearly retirement pension at a cool $600,000, starting at age 50. Such sweetheart scenarios were written by lawmakers during the Davis administration, exemplifying the unison of politicians, powerful unions, and the corruptocrat state attorneys at home in Sacramento.
In addition to Rizzo’s sub $800,000 salary, Bell police chief netted over $456,000 and assistant city manager Angela Spaccia earned $376,000. The Los Angeles Times reported today that all three of these high-income earners got the boot today. We’ll see if they “go into private business and make that money” as the Bell city manager claimed.
The local issue of overpaid, zealous administrators in Bell, California, demonstrates a far more troubling macro picture for both the state and the nation a whole. California’s pension system alone now comes with a price tag that dwarfs the estimates of 10 years ago. This is due mostly to the 1999 California enacted pension ‘reform’ based on ludicrous investment gambles that assumed (among many other things) that the Dow Jones Industrial average would be trading at 25,000 by 2009. And with the ongoing recession and business/entrepreneur exodus – it will only get worse.
California may break records in fiscal insanity and union largess but the issue is not unique to this state alone. A story today out of Ann Arbor, Michigan highlights city officials who saw it fit to use taxpayer dollars to purchase an $800,000 piece of art despite the city’s current fiscal distress. The city also hired an art-coordinator and while doing so fired the city administrator that oversees trash collection efforts.
Talk about taking out the trash.
Going forward, the nation may not only face public outrage but civic unrest, when the taxpayers who foot the bill for perpetual government sector magnanimity come to full grips with the situation we are facing.
Perhaps we need hundreds of clones of a certain large, Italian, former prosecutor at every level of state and federal government to clean up this mess.
Paging Chris Christie.
Tim Daniel is a small business owner and entrepreneur who currently lives in San Diego, California with his wife and lovely cat. He is editor in chief of the southern California-based Left Coast Rebel blog.