September 9, 2010; Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune | Remember the tiny working class community of Bell, Calif. where the part-time mayor and city council gave themselves salaries of $90,000 to $100,000 and authorized salaries of $787,637 for the city’s chief administrative officer, $376,288 for the assistant city manager, and $457,000 for the police chief ($150,000 more than the policy chief of Los Angeles)?

Nice work if you can get it. A local nonprofit, the Montebello Housing Development Corporation, scheduled a $350-a-plate dinner to honor the former mayor of Bell, who was on the City Council that authorized the astronomical pay levels. What is the Development Corporation’s rationale for honoring one of the now disgraced members of the salary cabal? We think this cryptic comment from the president of the group—“If I put on blue pants in the morning does it really matter if I do good work in the community?”—means that he did good work for the nonprofit sector, notwithstanding his helping to bring the city to bankruptcy.

The former mayor also started a nonprofit called the Oldtimers Foundation, which helps seniors with housing and food. That nonprofit, serving Los Angeles and San Bernadino counties, is being investigated by Attorney General Jerry Brown for the former mayor’s alleged conflict of interest. One can imagine some of these secretly well compensated public officials shrugging away the criticisms and simply going along their way.—Rick Cohen