Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Will Baldwin Park Police Chief Make Over $650,000 for 2018?

Police Chief, Michael Taylor
(c) LA Times
On November 15, 2017, Baldwin Park City Council approved an employment contract with Baldwin Park's Chief of Police - Michael Taylor for what appears to be over $650,000, effective on December 1, 2017. On the surface, Taylor's new employment contract, drafted by Robert Tafoya, the City Attorney, appears to be only for an additional raise of $15,511 a year, which would bring his base salary up to $234,000 a year.  But a buried clause in the contract, on page 2, paragraph 3(c), appears to make Taylor's new pay effective from December 1, 2013.

In other words, Taylor will receive backpay from December 1, 2013 - which would mean receiving a bonus check of at least $419,000. (This sum was calculated by the difference owed to him from these past years. The data was provided by Transparent California.) The $650,000 is the salary Taylor will receive from Dec. 1, 2017 to Dec 1., 2018. This doesn't include his perks and benefits.

To put Taylor's new salary into perspective, Los Angeles Police Chief Charles Beck makes $372,714.52, which includes all his benefit. Taylor works four days a week, and for it, he will get nearly twice Beck's salary.

But Beck serves 4 million residents in Los Angeles. He has 9,000 sworn officers and 3,000 civilian employees. In contrast, Baldwin Park has 80,000 (or 50 times less the) residents and about 80 (or 112 times less) sworn officers  and 0 civilian employees.

The question on resident's mind is why a public servant like Taylor deserves such extraordinary backpay, especially given the fact that he was fired back in September of 2013 without cause. Other black marks under his tenure include settled lawsuits for allegedly jailing an undocumented resident without probable cause, violating California's TRUST Act and for jailing an attorney activist for protesting at the park, violating the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Under the new contract of $650,000, Taylor has requested that he not receive an annual performance review. The Council agreed.

In previous years, public servants who received such large salaries, like Robert Rizzo of the City of Bell and Jose Fernandez of Centinela Valley School District have been prosecuted for public corruption. But it appears that Baldwin Park goes unchecked as a result of having a poor record with complying with state transparency laws. The pattern of voting irregularity may also be contributing to the problem. No wonder the artist Eartha Kitt once said: "Greed is so destructive. It destroys everything."

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