Remember the giant scandal in tiny Bell, Calif., that The Los Angeles Times broke the story on last year? Well, there’s a sequel.
The relatively poor city of 37,000 is seeking to terminate the pension benefits of its, way way overpaid ex-employees. And the ex-employees are suing.
From Talking Points Memo:
[Luis] Ramirez and [Annette] Peretz resigned from their posts as Deputy Engineer and director of community services in October, 2010, after revelations that public officials in the city were inflating their salaries with tax dollars. Luis Ramirez was being paid $247,573 a year at the time of his retirement, and Peretz was banking $273,542. Neither has been charged in connection with the scandal.
Former assistant city manager Angela Spaccia, who was making around $376,000 a year, and former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo, whose salary amounted to almost $800,000, have also sued the city for back pay and benefits. Both have been charged with fraud and misappropriation of public funds.
Fyi, the overpaid employees who haven’t been charged with any crimes have a good shot at prevailing. This issue has been litigated fairly extensively over the years; the U.S. Supreme Court in the past has cited the contracts clause of the U.S. Constitution in ruling you can’t take away benefits that have already been promised.