POV: Government Perks - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

POV: Government Perks

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FOX 11 Vice President & General Manager Kevin Hale addresses the controversy surrounding elected official getting big-time perks.

You can watch the full video of the editorial in the media player... and share your comments on the topic below the editorial transcript.

Full Editorial Text:

Bell Gardens and Monterey Park are two of the hundreds of California cities that are governed by state code.

These rules limit what council members can earn. But not surprisingly, when it comes to your money, some city councils have figured out ways to line their own pockets: We're talking about part-time officials collecting full-time benefits.

Council members in these two cities are paid four to five hundred dollars per meeting.

Seems reasonable.

But when we add up all the perks -- particularly health care -- the cost balloons. And in Bell Gardens, some end up making about two thousand dollars per meeting.

And Monterey Park continues paying for health care for some of its elected officials even years after they've left office.

That can add up to more than a hundred thousand dollars for each official.

It’s a nice gig if you can get it.

But come on. Gold-plated perks for part-time people?

And guess what? Some of these perks are a direct violation of state law.

This letter right here is from the office of L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley, and it's addressed to Monterey Park.

It tells a number of its elected officials that they are violating state code.

A few officials have paid back the city but only after FOX 11 ran a story pointing out this questionable practice.

At least Monterey Park has started to reduce its benefits.

But these cities aren't alone, and who knows how many more are out there?

SB 186, introduced by state senators Christine Kehoe and Mark DeSaulnier, would give the controller power to proactively audit all California cities to prevent these Bell-like scandals.

We urge our state assembly to pass the Kehoe-DeSaulnier bill, SB-186.

It's time to put a stop to this type of excess -- and to bring city finances out from the shadows.

 

 

Thanks for listening.

What do you think? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.

 

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