Hundreds of California city residents march over salary scandal (2)

10:42, July 26, 2010      

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In such small cities like Bell, city mayor is elected among the five council members, and the mayor, vice mayor and council members are working part time. In most cities, mayors and other city council members earn between 250 dollars and 500 dollars, with the 400 dollars as the average for each month.

However, in Bell City, the average annual pay for city council members is 100,000 dollars.

Residents of the city did not know that their city officials are fat cats until the Los Angeles Times did a story earlier this month.

The salary scandal has triggered protests in the small, working-class city, southeast of downtown Los Angeles and drawn national attention.

"I don't think they are taking it seriously. And we're serious," said longtime Bell resident Nestor Valencia, who organized Sunday's protest. "They need to resign," he said, referring to the mayor and three other City Council members.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the mayor and three of the council's four other members make about 100,000 dollars a year, most of it in salaries for sitting on boards and commissions. Only Councilman Lorenzo Velez makes a modest salary of about 8,000 a year.

"This is a test for our community," Valencia said. "There's been a fiasco here."

The City Council has called an emergency meeting Monday to address the issue.Source: Xinhua
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