Council members question Ridley-Thomas’ salary suspension

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Two members of the Los Angeles City Council are investigating whether Comptroller Ron Galperin had the legal authority to cut Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ salary and benefits after Ridley-Thomas was suspended from the council last week. last year, according to a motion filed Wednesday by Paul Krekorian which was seconded by Gil Cedillo.

Ridley-Thomas was suspended in October after he was indicted in a federal corruption case. Galperin then suspended Ridley-Thomas’ salary, saying he “couldn’t use city money to pay the salary of an elected official facing federal bribery and fraud charges who is now legally incapacitated.” to do his job”.

Ridley-Thomas sued the city and Galperin last week, seeking a ruling reversing the decision as illegal, along with attorneys’ fees.

A spokesperson for Galperin said at the time that the city charter allowed the comptroller to stop payment of wages when a public employee “is not devoting his time to his duties,” according to the motion.

Krekorian’s motion asserts that if such capability is within the Comptroller’s purview, “there is a real risk that a future Comptroller will stop paying public employees” if the employee does not conform to the Comptroller’s subjective view of what his “duty” should be.

Chelsea Lucktenberg, Galperin’s acting director of communications, declined to comment on the motion on Wednesday, citing issues related to ongoing litigation.

The motion asked the city attorney to report within 30 days on the city comptroller’s legal authority to suspend a city employee’s pay, as well as the council’s options if he is not d agreement with a decision made by the controller.

The board did not discuss whether to cut Ridley-Thomas’ salary and benefits. The motion says the board should be able to assess whether Galperin had the legal authority to act unilaterally to make the decision.

The motion also warns of a potential for abuse if the comptroller “seeks to pursue a political agenda” against a particular public official.

The Ridley-Thomas lawsuit claims that Galperin acted unilaterally to cut Ridley-Thomas’ salary and did so to help his campaign for state comptroller earlier this year. Galperin finished fifth in the field of six.

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