NEWS: September 23, 2010
Compensation | Bell, Calif.
Audit: City Hiked Taxes,
Funnelled Funds to Administrator
The city of Bell nearly doubled taxes for sewer, trash and other public services without voter approval, then illegally funneled more than $1 million of the proceeds to then-City Administrator Robert Rizzo and his assistant, a state audit shows. Rizzo was among eight Bell officials arrested Tuesday on charges of public corruption.
Los Angeles Times
Compensation Generous in Other California Cities
Although eclipsed by the pay received by officials in Bell, other California cities are heaping big money on their top managers, including six-figure loans to buy houses and benefits that more than double base pay, according to a study released by state lawmakers.
Los Angeles Times
California Commission Might Regulate City Pay
In the wake of the Bell pay scandal, California Attorney General Jerry Brown's office suggested that the state consider forming a commission that could regulate--perhaps even cap--salaries for city managers and other municipal employees.
Public Officials | The Nation
Gene L. Dodaro
GAO Veteran to Head Agency
President Obama announced that he would nominate Gene L. Dodaro to serve as comptroller general of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office. Dodary, who has worked at GAO for more than 30 years, has been acting head of the agency since 2008, when David M. Walker left to head a foundation.
Angry Voters' Recall Campaigns Target Mayors
The throw-the-rascals-out mood is so strong these days that voters across the country are mounting recall campaigns to oust mayors in the middle of their terms, often as punishment for taking unpopular steps like raising taxes or laying off city workers.
New York Times
Candidates Wonder: Does Illinois Need a Lt. Governor?
Three candidates vying to become Illinois' next lieutenant governor all acknowledged that there's a serious question about whether the office, which has few defined responsibilities, should even exist.
Technology | The Nation
CDC Grants Back Health Performance Systems
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is helping state, local and tribal public health departments create performance-management systems by awarding $42.5 million in grants funded by the health care reform law. The money is being distributed to 94 projects in 49 states.
Federal Computer Week
Despite Glitch, Feds Still Tweeting
Many federal agencies were continuing to use Twitter to update the public about government initiatives despite a bug that infected entries, including tweets sent by the White House press secretary.
Transportation | Virginia
Audit Finds Hundreds of Millions
in Unspent Road Funds
A new audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation has uncovered unspent funds spread across several accounts that could total $500 million, according to sources. The state has struggled for years to fund road and transit work.
Public Pensions | California
CalPERS Investing in Brazilian Real Estate
Despite having suffered huge losses in other real estate investments, the California Public Employees' Retirement System is pouring $190 million into the Brazilian market. The pension fund is investing $190 million in a Brazilian commercial real estate fund managed by a Houston firm and frequent CalPERS partner.
Ethics | Detroit
Former Water-Sewer Chief Target of Probe
Victor Mercado, former director of Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department, is under scrutiny as part of a federal corruption investigation. Mercado's agency awarded $109 million in work to a contractor who was a close friend of then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Indicted Colorado Assessor Placed on Leave
Elbert County, Colo., commissioners placed Assessor Phyllis Jean "P.J." Trostel, who was indicted by a grand jury on 28 counts of embezzlement, forgery, theft and perjury, on paid leave of absence.
Environment/Public Facilities | Los Angeles County
Foam Food Containers
Banned from County Buildings
Taking what could be the first step toward a far wider ban, county supervisors voted to restrict foam food containers from most county offices and concessions. The county jail system, where officials rely on the lightweight containers because they cannot be made into weapons, probably will be exempted.
Los Angeles Times
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ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY
Help for a Looted City
Whether or not former City Manager Robert Rizzo and the other Bell, Calif., officials who were arrested for misappropriating public funds are found guilty, residents deserve to have trusted management in place. An idea put forth by state Attorney General Jerry Brown, for a judge to put the city into the hands of an independent receiver, is intriguing.
Los Angeles Times
Percentage of Americans
--including 62 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents--who say they admire "political leaders who stick to their position without compromise," according to a Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal poll
National Journal | More data
“This is not
a threat. It's very real,
and I'm not playing.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, standing outside a northeast Philadelphia podiatry practice and demanding that the owner cough up an estimated $114,000 in back taxes and penalties, part of the mayor's continuing efforts to rein in the city's deadbeat taxpayers
Philadelphia Inquirer | More quotes
Annual Leadership Conference
Sept. 24-25 | Anaheim, Calif.
National Association of State Chief Information Officers
Sept. 26-29 | Miami
Harvard Kennedy School
Online Program on Nonprofit Financial Stewardship: Concepts and Techniques for Strategic Management
Sept. 27-Nov. 19
Center for Governmental Research
Conference on Ensuring Effective Educators: Revolutionary Work
Sept. 28, 8 a.m. ET | Rochester, N.Y.
American Society for Training and Development
Conference on "Telling Ain't Training"
Sept. 28-29 | Denver
Webinar on Transforming Your Government Agency with Collaboration
Sept. 29, 2 p.m. ET
Full events listings