- Associated Press - Thursday, July 22, 2010

BELL, Calif. (AP) — Three administrators whose huge salaries sparked outrage in this small blue-collar suburb of Los Angeles have agreed to resign, the City Council said Friday.

Council members emerged from an hours-long closed session at midnight Friday and announced that they’d accepted the resignations of Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo, Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia and Police Chief Randy Adams.

Mr. Rizzo was the highest paid at $787,637 a year — nearly twice the pay of President Obama — for overseeing one of the poorest towns in Los Angeles County.

Ms. Spaccia makes $376,288 a year and Chief Adams earns $457,000, 50 percent more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

The three will not receive severance packages, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. Mr. Rizzo will step down at the end of August and Ms. Spaccia will leave at the end of September. Chief Adams will also leave at the end of August, after completing an evaluation of the police department, the Times said.

“I’m happy that they resigned but I’m disappointed at the pension that they’re going to receive,” said Ali Saleh, a member of the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse or BASTA.

Mr. Rizzo would be entitled to a state pension of more than $650,000 a year for life, according to calculations made by the Times. That would make Mr. Rizzo, 56, the highest-paid retiree in the state pension system.

Chief Adams could get more than $411,000 a year.

Ms. Spaccia, 51, could be eligible for as much as $250,000 a year when she reaches 55, though the figure is less precise than for the other two officials, the Times said.

Mr. Saleh said the crowd applauded after the announcement but immediately yelled out questions about what would happen to the council members. Four of the five of them are paid close to $100,000 annually for part-time work. When the crowd’s questions were not answered, they shouted, “Recall!, Recall!”

Revelations about the pay in Bell has sparked anger in the city of fewer than 40,000 residents. Census figures from 2008 show 17 percent of the population lives in poverty.

Enraged residents have staged protests demanding the firings and started a recall campaign against some council members.

“Woo-hoo, the salaries. Wow. What can I say? I think that’s unbelievable,” Christina Caldera, a 20-year resident of the city, said as she stood in line at a food bank.

Ms. Caldera, who is struggling after recently losing her job as a drug and alcohol counselor, said she generally was satisfied with the way the city was being run but felt high-paid officials should take a pay cut.

“What are they doing with all that money?” she asked. “Maybe they could put it into more jobs for other people.”

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