The City of Bell’s outrageous compensation for their City Manager, Assistant City Manager and Police Chief prompted various cities up and down the state to post compensation for public review.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune published an article “City Council’s receive similar small stipends, but many get executive-type benefits.”
The article fails to report that councilmembers receive base pay plus “benefit allotment“, which offers them to chose various health, dental, vision and other plans paid for by the city.
The compensation for a councilmember could fetch up to $20,000 per year for a part-time position.
For example, the City of Diamond Bar Councilmembers receives a base pay of $746 PLUS $975 monthly benefit allotment or placed in Section 457 deferred compensation plan offered through the International City Management Association.
Recently, a public records request was filed with Diamond Bar City Clerk, Tommye Cribbens, with an inquiry as to which of the five councilmembers has decided to participate in the benefit allotment. Cribbens replied:
As of this date one has opted to take advantage of this benefit. The other four are not currently enrolled in the city’s health plan and therefore their allotment is placed in deferred comp.
A follow-up inquiry was necessary with a request as to which one of the five councilmembers have decided to take advantage of the benefit allotment. Cribbens replied:
I have conferred with our City Attorney, and although most documentation is public record as to the City Council, this is one that is not; and is considered personal in nature and does not fall under the California Public Records Act.
Frankly, the City Attorney is incorrect to assert that it is of personal in nature, because councilmembers serve the public and are subject to public scrutiny due to the fact they are receiving such benefits courtesy of the Diamond Bar Taxpayers.
It is with hope from this point forward that the public demand information for public review of all compensation packages, because the last thing we need for any city to become another City of Bell.