It turns out that decent public servants are hard to come by when you've nearly run a city into bankruptcy through six-figure pay for do-nothing public employees and the (literal) plunder of millions from the public. That's the case in the city of Bell anyway.
Per today's Los Angeles Times:When Bell's all-new five-member City Council was sworn in four months ago, the members vowed a complete overhaul of the city: New leadership. New start.But the council is having little luck.After a monthlong search, officials have not received a single application from a candidate to lead the city.
Besides city manager, other top leadership positions also remain vacant, including police chief and planning director. For months, Bell could not find an accounting firm that was willing to audits its books until the state controller stepped in and encouraged a firm to do the work.Schadenfreude for Bell's more rapacious members of the public sector aside, this is one more indignity for the city's more than 35,000 citizens, who have gone from having bad leadership to none in some cases.
Council members have discovered that Bell's reputation is its biggest problem.
There is an ideal end game here; one in which Bell becomes a template for public-sector reform throughout California. If a handful of public-minded citizens with reformist temperaments take the reins, they have the opportunity to prove that no city in the Golden State is beyond salvation. The ideal candidates would have the courage to take on the city's established power centers and (ideally) the financial wherewithal to take the symbolically important step of assuming the positions at greatly reduced rates of pay. And if they could restore transparency and turn Bell from its current course (on the brink of bankruptcy), they could send an important message throughout the state: that there is, in this moment of crisis for the public sector, immense opportunity for reform.