Sacramento, CA —
With the announcement today of former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo on 69 counts of public corruption, the League of California Cities reiterated the organization’s stance on good government and transparency.
The League of California Cities denounced Mr. Rizzo’s actions from the moment they were uncovered. The outrageous crimes of a few former elected and appointed officials in the city of Bell represented a significant breach of public trust that is inexcusable. Yet this corruption scandal also served as an important opportunity for local governments throughout California to evaluate and improve upon their own practices.
In the wake of the Bell scandal, the League of California Cities and its member cities, city managers and local elected officials took immediate and significant steps to enhance local government transparency and accountability, to assist the residents of Bell in reforming and reconstituting their government, and to provide all California cities with the tools, guidelines and resources to become more open and responsive to their taxpayers. Locally-elected and appointed officials have an obligation to maintain the public trust. The League of California Cities is pleased it is able to play a continual role in developing tools and resources to ensure maximum transparency and accountability.
Following the scandal in the city of Bell, the League of California Cities engaged in a range of initiatives to provide better accountability and transparency including:
Releasing the 2010 City Manager Compensation Survey;
Supporting transparency legislation that requires public reporting and public posting of salary and compensation information for state and local government employees that is used on the Controller’s website;
Working with the State Controller on his compensation database;
Publishing City Manager Salary Guidelines on the League website at www.cacities.org/opengovernment; and
Enhancing the League’s Open Government website resources at www.cacities.org/opengovernment.
In addition, The Institute for Local Government (ILG), the nonprofit research affiliate of the League and California State Association of Counties (CSAC), provides ethics training, guidance, and resources for local officials related to public service ethics and transparency, participated in four workshops in the city of Bell to help the new council and community. ILG resources were also used by the city of Bell in developing the city’s new website, which subsequently won a national award for transparency.
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.