It’s that time again


It seems budget issues must not be such a grave concern in South El Monte.

While the rest of the country grapples with an economic downturn that’s forced layoffs, company closures and salary cuts, the South El Monte City Council has approved a 10 percent raise for itself.

The council will now be paid $771 a month instead of $701 for their duties on the dais. That equates to an additional $840 a year per council member, not including other perks like cell phone and car allowances.

City officials say South El Monte’s budget is balanced, and the raises take into account annual 5 percent increases dating back to 2007.

The pay raise was approved unanimously.


La Puente officials say interim Transition Manager Frank Tripepi will be cutting his hours – and his salary – in half come March 1.

Tripepi briefly made mention of the change at last week’s City Council meeting, and La Puente Mayor Louie Lujan later confirmed that Tripepi will in fact be working 50 percent less hours.

“(Tripepi) has brought City Hall and the City Council to the point where he can reduce his hours,” Lujan said, adding the move will save money but not sacrifice quality.

As a result, Tripepi’s company Willdan Financial Services will be paid roughly $10,000 a month for the work instead of the $20,000 it’s been getting since its contract was approved.

This will allow the city to keep Tripepi on longer, but not go over budget. It willalso allow the city to spend a little bit extra each month for lobbying services.

The City Council voted last week to approve a contract with Joe A. Gonsalves & Sonfor representation in Sacramento. The $3,000 a month contract will last through the end of the fiscal year, or June 30.

Lujan said if all goes according to plan and the lobbyists work out, the city could very well enter into another contract next fiscal year.

Joe A. Gonsalves & Son has a long list of San Gabriel Valley clients including the cities of Arcadia, Irwindale, Industry and Diamond Bar. They also represent the San Gabriel Valley Water Association, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and The Willdan Group of Companies.


Talk about a waste of taxpayer money.

A former Los Angeles County public works employee pleaded no contest in January to stealing gas from county maintenance yards.

Between July 2 and Sept. 3, 2008, officials say Ralph Soto used a co-worker’s account number to siphon off an estimated 1,000 gallons of gas at yards in Alhambra and East Los Angeles – at a time when gas was nearing $4 a gallon.

Soto also filled cans with gasoline, which he then sold.

Apparently, he was doing the deed at night and on weekends. He hasn’t been an employee with the county since early December.

Soto will pay $5,087 in restitution to the county and serve 120 days in county jail.