Since the salary-pension scandal broke in the city of Bell, we have seen some ridiculous finger pointing and some genuine reflection by opinion leaders, elected officials and administrators.
Some of the better comments and observations have come from Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp and Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez.
They are both absolutely correct. The public confidence has been lost and this very well may be an opportunity to correct the course on public pensions. That’s the good. Now, let’s talk about the bad.
Senate pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg is a former Sacramento City Councilman. That is why we are extremely disappointed in his pointed letter to the League of California Cities.
The League is no any more responsible for the actions of one of its member cities than Steinberg is for the ethical lapses of Congressman Charles Rangel because they are both Democrats.
California has 480 cities, 58 counties, about 1,000 school districts and thousands of special districts. In this universe of public entities, we have some who do things the wrong way but it’s the exception, not the rule.
Public administrators have certainly shared in the pain caused by the economic downturn. This is true all over the state. The painting with a broad brush to accuse all of these public administrators of behaving this way is inaccurate and plain wrong.
The League of Cities is an active local government organization that has emerged as quite a force on several issues recently. Pulskamp and Executive Director Chris McKenzie addressed these issues in a regularly scheduled meeting of the League’s City Manager Department Executive Committee meeting last week.
This group is actually managing the issue and not just seeking a scapegoat.
Of course, there are some bad local government officials. In the same way that there is a minority percentage of bad police officers, painters, truck drivers and Legislators.
The City of Bell has brought compensation issues to the forefront of people’s minds. Now it’s time to make the most of it, just like public administrators do every day.
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