Irvine Councilman-Elect to Reject Benefits

Newly elected Irvine Councilman Jeff Lalloway said he’s going to turn down medical and pension benefits, and if he can, a $715 monthly car allowance the city offers to council members.

Currently, all five council members receive the auto allowance and also take medical and retirement benefits. In addition to a $10,560 annual salary, the total cost of these benefits, plus stipends for sitting on other boards, range from $32,175 for Christina Shea to $37,114 for Beth Krom, according to the city website. The differences depend on the extent of the health coverage.

Lalloway said accepting such benefits is not fair to taxpayers. The benefits collected by public officials have become an issue in recent months, with revelations of officials taking benefits from multiple agencies.

And Lalloway argued that when Shea fired him from the city finance commission, it was because, among other reasons, he was going to expose the auto allowance.

“Legislators are uniquely able to vote themselves their own salary and benefits,” Lalloway said. He added, “I don’t think it’s fair that folks who work for a living and pay taxes are forced to cut back at this difficult time when council members are obtaining benefits that others can’t get.”

Lalloway said he’s not sure if he has the option to reject the auto allowance but said that if he can’t, he’ll donate it to charity.