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    And Now Retired Councilman Les Robbins Weighs-In On Council-Voted "Golden Handshake" For Exiting Mayor O'Neill & Council Consideration Of Add'l Retirement Benefit For Itself


    (June 25, 2006) -- Add another retired Councilmember to the growing list of Long Beach taxpayers incensed by the City Council's May 23 vote to hand outgoing Mayor Beverly O'Neill a "golden handshake" of 600 hours of credited "sick leave" worth about $31,000 in health insurance she won't have to pay for because taxpayers will.

    Retired Fifth Distrtict Councilman Les Robbins has sent an email following-up on the email we received from retired Third District Councilman Doug Drummond on the matter.

    Mr. Robbins (who succeeded Councilman Ernie Kell who went to serve as LB's first publicly elected Mayor preceding Beverly O'Neill) recently retired from the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. He's now a regularly scheduled columnist for The Beachcomber and also hosts "Mum's the Word" on Charter Cable channel 3. He retired from the Council under term limits in 1998.

    Mr. Robbins: "...[F]rom another 'former' elected official in this city, one who among many who did not partake of this type of 'benefit', I am in total agreement with Doug Drummond. This is just another example of the attitude at City Hall, especially among elected officials, that they are "entitled" to whatever they can grab!

    This is outrageous to say the least and if not illegal it certainly must qualify as immoral!

    If they are gonna qualify for this type of "benefit" then who is managing their time cards? Are they being charged for sick leave when they are sick? Or are they among those who never get sick?

    My guess is that this is a one-way policy that only works when it is to the advantage of the elected official......sad, very sad!"


    On July 11, Councilmembers are scheduled to consider giving themselves the same retirement formula (50 hrs. credited sick leave for each year of their incumbency) which would apply to all subsequent otherwise qualified retiring Councilmembers. (These would include Frank Colonna and, if the certified election results hold, Jackie Kell). City management tells this would amount to about a $5,200 benefit for an eight year retiring Councilmember.

    Mayor O'Neill wasn't present for the May 23 Council action on the "golden handshake" for her and subsequent Mayors (vice Mayor Kell presided)...but all of this comes almost exactly four years after Mayor O'Neill presided over agendizing the two now infamous votes to spike the pensions for non-public safety City Hall employees (including O'Neill). These were neatly scheduled for the last day of an outgoing Council (with Grabinski and Shultz) and the first day of an incoming Council (with Reyes Uranga and Lerch).

    A few weeks after the Council's 2002 pension fattening votes, Mayor O'Neill -- who prior to her 2002 "write-in" reelection assured voters that City Hall was on the right track -- said after the election and the pension-spiking votes that City actually faced a major financial crisis. continues to receive blazing email in response to our stories on this matter. We're updating salient email at Your Opinions On Mgm't-Proposed, Council-Approved "Golden Handshake" For Exiting Mayor...And Council's Consideration Of Add'l Retirement Benefit For Itself

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