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Gov. Brown signs Bell bill into law

Government: Legislation sponsored by local assemblyman is meant to improve transparency in city gove

Posted: July 26, 2011 10:55 p.m.
Updated: July 26, 2011 10:55 p.m.
 

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth aimed at preventing another corruption scandal like the one in the city of Bell has been signed by the governor.

Assembly Bill 23, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, promises to expose how much money California city council members are making in stipends.

“This bill is part of a bipartisan package that has been working its way through the Legislature since the Bell city sandal broke last summer,” Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, said Tuesday.

“What we’re trying to do is close a loophole exploited by some politicians to pad their salaries.”

Bell officials secretly enriched themselves with extravagant salaries and benefits while illegally raising taxes on the city’s residents, who are among the poorest in Los Angeles County, according to a Los Angeles Times series that exposed the corruption last summer.

Bell council members were charged with misappropriation of funds.

The bill would authorize a convened legislative body to convene as a different agency only if a clerk or member of the convened body identifies the amount of the stipend.

Smyth says the bill promotes transparency at city councils.

Bell voters recalled and replaced the members of their City Council in March.

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