Friday, July 23, 2010
Awhile ago, we were all upset by the bonuses that AIG was paying out, despite the fact that it needed government bailouts to stay afloat. The thought being that if you need the government to keep you alive, you should NOT be paying bonuses. I can see both sides of that situation though. The person receiving the bonus, had a contract with AIG, and they may have done NOTHING which inspired the screw up, and so still felt entitled to the bonus which may have gone to pay their mortgage, bills, etc.
However, I confess I cannot understand the most recent example of American Greed, seen in Bell, CA. In Bell, City Manager Robert Rizzo, Police Chief Randy Adams and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia have all recently agreed to resign their positions. Why would they do so you might ask? Public outrage. The outrage comes concerning their salaries ... Rizzo is paid $787,637 a year; Adams makes $457,000 and Spaccia makes $376,288.
To make a comparison, Adams' salary is 50% MORE than the Police Chief of Los Angeles. And another member of this same council, Lorenzo Velez, makes only $8,076. To put that in perspective, it is 1% of what Rizzo makes. The mayor of Bell made some lame excuse stating that this is because Velez was appointed, not elected.
I want to know, would the constituents of Bell have elected ANYONE if they knew that their tax dollars were going to be spent outrageously. More importantly, I want to know how these people could have felt entitled to these sort of paychecks? What could you possibly be doing as city manager that made you think you deserved $15,150 every week. To make in two weeks more than a lot of Americans take home in an entire year.
Granted, you could say that baseball players and movie stars should subsequently feel guilty about their salaries. But at least in their fields, it's customary to make that much money. I'm not sure that there are city managers out there that make CLOSE to what Rizzo did. Especially in cities that are not a major metropolitan area in and of itself.
I hope the Los Angeles district attorney was serious in pursuing whether or not these contracts were legal. I can't even envision myself making that kind of money. And one day if I do, I can't imagine making it all and not donating large sums of it to charity... which it doesn't appear that these folks were into.