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More Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Discovered in Bell

On Tuesday, your blogger expressed sympathy in reporting the town of Isleton, California, which lost its police department because it could not afford workers’ compensation insurance.  Today, that same blogger reports with outrage the stories coming out of Bell, California.

Bell, California, made news some time ago when it was discovered that its city officials were looting the public treasury, voting for high salaries for themselves at the expense of the city’s tax payers.  The city became even more (in)famous after being mentioned by this (someday will be) widely-read blog.

As the L.A. Times reports, “[m]ore than half of the disability retirements awarded to police officers under former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo – including those given to three police chiefs – should not have been granted, and workers’ compensation settlements for 13 officers were ‘exceedingly large.’”

Bell, which is self-insured for workers’ compensation, pays the extra awards out of its own withering pockets.

Bureaucracy allows these cases to fall through the cracks, and local governments such as cities and counties must be especially careful to make sure undeserved workers’ compensation awards are not handed out as a bonus or going-away present to law enforcement officers.

But the same rule applies to private self-insured employers and insurance companies as well – it not uncommon for employees to attempt to pad their retirement accounts with un-taxable workers’ compensation pay-outs on the way out the door.

When the citizens of Isleton ask why they can not have a police department, perhaps the citizens of Bell can provide them with an answer.

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