Two years ago, municipal officials in Bell were required to go public with their salaries. Shortly after their salaries were made public, corruption charges were filed and several of the highest paid city officials were fired from their jobs.
Last week, one of the fired officials filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles suburb. He claims that the city owes him severance pay totaling more than $800,000. The former official is not one of the eight officials who are currently facing criminal charges for their involvement in overly compensating municipal employees. However, the man was investigated because he was being paid one of the highest salaries compared to all other city officials across the entire nation.
An investigator said that the man's salary of $421,000 was very suspicious.
Although other officials have been criminally charged for their alleged involvement with approving extremely high salaries, the man's attorney argues that he still signed a contract when he accepted his pay, vacation and sick days. The man's attorney argues that this contract must be fulfilled.
According to reports, the city learned of the lawsuit last week. The former employee is requesting $837,000 in severance pay. The lawsuit says that this pay includes 18 months of compensation as well as compensation for 137 unused sick days and 192 unused vacation days. The former Bell official began working for the city in 2002. When he started, he made an annual salary of $90,000. Within eight years, he was making more than $420,000 a year.
An attorney for the city thinks that the former official's requests are "outrageous." However, the former official did sign an employee contract that stated what he would be entitled to receive if he ever was terminated.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Fired Bell official's lawsuit says city owes him $837,000," Jeff, Gottlieb, Aug. 29, 2012