This LA Times Article does an exceptional job of illustrating what kind of lifestyle Robert Rizzo, the City Manager of Bell was indulging in. Opulent habits including horse racing, drinking, golfing, and who knows what else not included in the article. The ultimate insult is that one of his horses is named “Depenserde l’argent” which is French for “Spend Money.” While I’m sure he is on the extreme end for lavish government benefits and living, it’s important to recognize that if government compensation spending is not closely monitored and open for private competition, employees will take every taxpayer dollar they can pocket.
Here’s a couple fun quotes from the article:
– Short and rotund, the 56-year-old Rizzo took to quoting tough-guy lines from “The Sopranos,” and tolerated no challenges to his expanding authority at City Hall, Bell insiders say.”
– After starting at $72,000, two years later the city council, brought Rizzo another bump, to $95,000. In mid-1991, Rizzo’s contract was amended so that if he was fired, he would receive up to two years of severance pay, according to city records.
– Rizzo helped the city stage a successful election — barely 400 of Bell’s 40,000 residents voted — to transform the town from a general law municipality into a charter city. The election was scheduled soon after a 2005 state law capped council salaries for general law cities. Council members have denied that pay had anything to do with the election, but their salaries shot up after the switch to charter status, and Rizzo’s employment contracts ballooned.