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Current Bell Officials Issue Statement Over Convictions Of Five Ex-City Council Members

Bell protestsBell city officials have reacted swiftly to Wednesdays conviction of five former Mayors on corruption charges.

Here is a copy of the transcript of the statement sent to members of the media:

“Today’s guilty ruling against five of the “Bell Six” signifies a long-awaited day of justice for the City of Bell and its residents. The former elected council members that once represented Bell, a small community composed of hard working residents in southeast Los Angeles, were found guilty of misappropriating funds, and paying themselves egregious salaries for attending public meetings that never convened.

“While today’s guilty ruling for five of the Bell Six helps bring some closure and justice to our community, there are still trial cases which remain pending — the trials of those remaining assailants that in my view plundered our City’s resources and shackled Bell’s hardworking families with an overwhelming tax burden,” stated Bell City Mayor Ali Saleh.

“Our community will rest when the legal process has come full circle, and justice has been served,” Saleh added. “Until then, my colleagues and I will continue to look toward the future. We will continue to rebuild Bell City Hall and ensure that transparency and open government flourish in all our functions. We will remain focused on the tasks which we were elected to accomplish – establish a model local government while building a town that residents are proud to call home”.

Once the Bell Six’ outrageous salaries were made public in the summer of 2010, the Bell community quickly took action by initiating a successful recall of former city council members and electing an all-new council that in turn hired a new city administration.

The new administration, composed of top-rated professionals including a city attorney, city manager and department directors have come to the City of Bell with extensive experience in municipal management. In a matter of months, the newly assembled team has worked diligently to build an open and transparent government, develop quality community programs, and improve vital City services for businesses and residents.

Given the crumbling nature of the City’s fiscal condition under the former administration, the new team moved swiftly to analyze the current state of affairs and make critical financial decisions that had been left to linger.

This effort began by making all City contracts available for public viewing on the City website as well as posting the City’s checkbook online. Soon after, a series of new financial controls and purchasing procedures were also put in place to support effective and honest administrative practices. The 2009-2010 Single Audit was completed and published. More importantly, the FY 2010-2011 and FY 2011-2012 Single Audits are currently in the process of being completed and brought to the Council for acceptance while the City’s financial transactions have been brought up to date – they were years behind!

These financial efforts have been carefully orchestrated by an experienced team which includes the City Manager and the Finance Director.

“The new financial procedures we have put into effect in the City of Bell are rooted in the public finance industry’s best practices and standards”, stated Bell City Manager Doug Willmore. “Our end goal is to ensure that we place the City of Bell and its financial interests on solid footing — we seek to safeguard our community’s assets and General Fund so we can continue to support, build, and create the quality services our constituents deserve. We are confident that the standards and policies we are implementing in the City of Bell will become the model for other cities to emulate”.

However, the administration’s rebuild efforts are not restricted to its Finance functions. Indeed, the improvements are being felt throughout City Hall and its departments. To illustrate, the team has successfully launched the following efforts.

  • Cerritos Residemt says:

    Bet fallout from Bell Litigation, will make our government more accurate. I still have questions, of all the business trips and county-state meetings our council attends, as there is a big question of lack of GPS tracking for these elected. I like how City of Bell, is posting all city checks on line, as great way for residents to track data. One thing noticed from Bell, lack of diversity of staffers and elected, seems mostly Latino males.