Some thoughts on the breaking news out of Montebello, Monterey Park

The news out of Montebello and Monterey Park today is pretty astounding.

First in Monterey Park we learned that former Police Chief Jones Moy cashed in $372,559 in unused sick, vacation and holiday pay before he retired last year.

And for the cherry on the cake, he filed for workers compensation benefits in the months before he left.

Cashing in benefits like this by department managers is going to be an issue in the future, I predict. So many cities are appealing to candidates with large benefit packages, such as a months worth of vacation that can be saved year to year. Plus, many of these same managers already get a certain amount of administrative leave hours (often more than two weeks a year like Glendora’s new chief will get) so they can take a two week vacation and not have touched their paid vacation time.

Work for a city for a city for 12+ years while saving a month’s worth of vacation/sick time each year and suddenly you retire with your CALPERS benefits with the retirement bonus of a year’s salary or more.

Then in Montebello the city depleted its redevelopment agencies budget to refill the general fund budget with a $19.3 million loan. The loan dissenting councilwoman there said the action was probably “illegal.”

Redevelopment money is intended for just that: Redevelopment. The money for such agencies usually comes from county property tax dollars that goes to cities in an effort to fix up blighted neighborhoods. The money is not intended to pay for city salaries, police, services and other general fund expenditures. In fact, as Glendora has seen, if you want a piece of the redevelopment pie, you have to assuredly prove what you are fixing up is blighted. If not, then the gravy train stops short.

It is hard to imagine seeing this hold up.

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