Compton’s mayor and council members have been illegally boosting their salaries for years by paying themselves for commission meetings that sometimes lasted only about a minute, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office says in allegations reported Friday.
In some cases, officials were paid “whether or not the commission member attended the meeting,” the prosecutor’s office said in a July 17 letter to the Compton city attorney. The Los Angeles Times reported that it obtained the letter Thursday.
Mayor Aja Brown was paid an additional $4,000 a month on top of her authorized monthly salary of $600, and the four council members received $3,400 more a month, the district attorney said, according to The Times.
Including their monthly council stipend, pay for sitting on four boards and commissions, and their auto allowance, Compton council members collect $55,800 annually, and the mayor pulls in $63,000. Additionally, some council members also receive $150 a month in a cellphone allowance, The Times reported.
The district attorney’s letter is likely to evoke comparisons with the salary scandal in the city of Bell, although the amounts of money involved in Compton are much smaller.
The letter warned that Compton officials could be prosecuted if the high payments continue.
“There’s no authority of law for the City of Compton to pay public officials money from the public coffers outside the parameters of the city charter,” the letter said, according to The Times.
The Times reported that it found the meetings of the highest-paying Compton commissions often lasted the shortest time. The stipends ranged from $300 for the Urban Community Development Commission to $1,000 a month for the Housing Development and Gaming commissions. Council members also earn $1,100 a month for sitting on the Public Finance Authority, and the mayor is paid $1,700.
The district attorney’s letter said the Housing and Gaming commissions “serve no obvious purpose other than providing additional compensation to the commission members.”
—City News Service
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