Placentia Shows Residents Its Salaries Are Nothing Like Bell’s

In response to the ongoing scandal over outsized salaries for top officials in the city of Bell, Placentia has launched a new section on its website outlining compensation for the City Council, the city administrator and other city employees.

City Administrator Troy Butzlaff said City Hall has received numerous questions from residents about how city officials are paid since the Los Angeles Times broke the story about Bell earlier this month.

“We usually don’t get inquiries like this,” Butzlaff said. “This is what we felt would be the best way to get the information out.”

Like Bell, Placentia is a charter city, which, among other things, grants the council more leeway in deciding its level of compensation. But in Placentia, any increase in the stipend council members receive must be approved by a vote of city residents.

Members of the council receive about $2,500 a year, as compared with the nearly $100,000 a year four of Bell’s council members were being paid. Butzlaff receives $183,264 a year, much less than the nearly $800,000 Bell’s top administrator received.

Butzlaff said he hopes that by posting the salary information online, residents will see that Placentia operates with transparency in mind.

“More and more people are starting to get concerned,” Butzlaff said. “Residents are being more and more proactive.”

Placentia isn’t immune to scandal, though.

Former Public Works Director Chris Becker in January pleaded no contest to conflict-of-interest charges stemming from a failed railway project in the city. Becker is paying back about $300,000 to the city as part of his plea agreement.