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Bell scandal prompts legislation in Sacramento

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Prompted by the recent revelations of unusually high salaries paid to officials in the city of Bell, a state Senate committee Thursday is scheduled to vote on a bill that would restrict pay for local government officials.

The bill, AB 1955 by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate), would give new powers to the state attorney general to regulate compensation for local officials.

The bill would prompt a review from the attorney general’s office if a city is determined to offer ‘excess compensation.’ That distinction would be given to any local entity that offers pay and other benefits above existing state guidelines for what local officials should be paid.

The bill also would create new disclosure laws surrounding city and local contracts. Under the bill, all compensation contracts would have to be ratified in an open session of a city council or county board of supervisors. The total amount of salary, benefits, retirement and any other compensation would have to be posted a week before the meeting.

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The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Local Government Committee on Thursday.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento


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