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Compton Salary Boosting Scandal; who’s being flimflammed?

The DA admits knowing Compton salary-boosting has been perpetrated since 2008, when a Deputy DA was serving as Compton mayor The Mayor of Compton and the City Council are members of the following City Commissions—Housing Development,

The DA admits knowing Compton salary-boosting has been perpetrated since 2008, when a Deputy DA was serving as Compton mayor

The Mayor of Compton and the City Council are members of the following City Commissions—Housing Development, Gaming, Public Finance Authority and Urban Community Development. The extra money (in addition to their salaries) they receive from brief commission sessions is currently the focus of serious concern by the Los Angeles County District Attorney office.

ComptonHerald.com | Uncharted

“Uncharted” is commentary by Jarrette D. Fellows, Jr.

You see, the DA says it is illegal for the elective body to receive compensation for serving on these commissions, much less pay themselves outrageous sums of money—$600 to $1000 stipends—for conducting meetings that generally last less than one minute.

That’s on top of salaries that amount to $63,000 annually for the mayor and $55,000 for the council, for responsibilities that are, in essence, part-time.

The Herald can think of at least one need in the city where this public tax money would be better spent—the city’s terribly “cratered” streets and roadways.

But, for at least seven years this misappropriation of city funds has been felonious policy, from 2008 to 2015. The DA cites the Compton City Charter, Article 10, Sections 1000 and 1001, allowing the council “to create by ordinance advisory boards or commissions,” but says, “[this] does not include the payment of a salary to the mayor or any council member for being a member of any commission.”

The DA also said, “No representative from the Crystal Casino ever appeared before the commission [and] the Housing and Gaming commissions serve no obvious purpose other than providing additional compensation to the commission members in contravention of the explicit limitation of Article 5, Section 504 of the city charter.”

In fact the DA sent a letter on July 17, 2015, to City Attorney Craig J. Cornwell with copies to Mayor Aja Brown, and council members Janna Zurita, Isaac Galvan, Emma Sharif, and Yvette Arceneaux, warning them that the practice of reaping compensation for serving on the commissions has no “legal justification,” according to Article 5, Section 504 of the city charter.

The letter adds, “Any officer of this state, or any county, city, town, or district of this state, and every other person charged with the receipt, safekeeping, transfer or disbursement of public moneys, who without authority of law, appropriates the same, or any portion thereof, to his or her own use, or to the use of another is guilty of a felony.”

A felony? That’s what the letter reads, and one that the DA admits they know has been perpetrated since 2008. But no indictments—not one prosecution for what is clearly a criminal offense. It appears the DA, the county’s top law enforcement body is more than a little lax in this case.

Someone should be in the cross-hairs of criminal prosecution, that is if this is not just phony “posturing.” We asked the District Attorney’s Office if there is a time frame in which the mayor and council have to comply with the requirements in the letter, and why charges haven’t been filed by the DA, even though they’ve known of the crimes for some time.

In a written statement, their response was: “We decline to comment.”

One has to ask—Who’s being flimflammed here? But you already know the answer.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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