Fired Bell Official Joins Parade of Ex-Officials Suing the City

Friday, August 31, 2012
Eric Eggena

At first glance, it appeared that maybe Eric Eggena, a Bell city official who was fired amid a wide-ranging scandal, might be worth the $837,000 he was suing for because he apparently rarely, if ever, missed a day of work.

A big chunk of the money the former director of general services is seeking is for 329 days of sick leave and vacation time he never took, in addition to severance pay. But, as it turns out, his contract called for double payments for sick days vacations, inflating the value of the benefits.

Although Eggena was fired shortly after the Los Angeles Times broke the scandal story in 2010 that resulted in indictments of eight officials—six council members, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo and his deputy, Angela Spaccia—he was never charged with a crime.

Rizzo was accused of masterminding a scheme to pay millions of dollars in inflated salaries and benefits to officials, including unindicted former Police Chief Randy Adams. Rizzo sued Bell last year for breach of contract.

Adams resigned and gave up his $457,000-a-year job (his total compensation package was put at $770,046) in the small, poor blue-collar town, but sued for severance pay after he left. Adams was on track to become the third-highest pensioner in the state, at $400,000 a year, until the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) slashed it to $268,000.

Eggena claims in his lawsuit that he is due compensation for 192 vacation days and 137 sick days in addition to 18 months of severance pay. He came to work for the city in 2002 and was paid $90,000 a year. By the time he left, his annual compensation was $421,000. The city also paid his Medicare and Social Security deductions, in addition to doubling his time off.

Eggena’s compensation, though putting him in the top tier of city officials nationally, was dwarfed by Rizzo’s, who capped out at $1.5 million a year, along with 137 vacation days and 36 for illness.

–Ken Broder  


To Learn More:  

Fired Bell Official's Lawsuit Says City Owes Him $837,000 (by Jeff Gottleib, Los Angeles Times)

Ex-City Official’s $650,000-a-Year Pension Slashed Again (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

Leave a comment