Inglewood Treasurer Wanda Brown continued her quest to peel back the veil of secrecy surrounding the inner workings of City Hall. Brown has been relentless since city hall reopened after the annual two week holiday break last December. She continues to spell out the allegations both verbally and written to alert Inglewood citizens of dire decisions we need to make in this November’s election.
The regular council meeting began June 9th with two Public Hearings related to the city’s General Plan. 2UrbanGirls copied and pasted the public hearing notice published on the Inglewood Today newspaper’s website which contained inaccurate phone numbers for public comment.
As the meeting began, residents were unable to call in and express their thoughts on the matter and when Deputy City Clerk Aisha Thompson alerted the council she received written remarks via email, Mayor James Butts and the council refused to read the comments out loud.
Residents were provided with no less than five different call in numbers for public comment that did not work. It was a blatant and obvious attempt to not allow the public to comment on decisions that directly affect our quality of life. In a rare move, city staff and council responded to those of us who made comments on the city’s Facebook page, during the live council feed, however, it did not allow callers to call in who weren’t on social media.
The council approved the plans unanimously and also moved forward with approving the submittal of an application to the LA Formation Commission to put a measure on the ballot for residents to approve taxing themselves for a transportation connector for the exclusive use of visitors to the proposed Clippers arena, Forum and SoFi Stadium. It is unknown why taxpayer money is going towards a private project.
Details continue to leak out of SoFi Stadium surrounding the death of iron worker Juan Becerra, who died at the site on Friday, June 5th. Employees shared that it is very rare that iron workers wear harnesses when working on beams as they could restrict mobility. Those who work in the stadium shared with 2UrbanGirls it was likely that Juan was not wearing a harness and many saw him falling to the ground to his death. Safety nets are installed in the event of a fall, however, many are speculating he was carrying items that weighed him down causing him to go through the safety net.
Mayor Butts made no comments on his death.
Finally, Brown closed out the meeting discussing the ineptness of City Manager Artie Fields and his outrageous salary. City salaries for 2019 have finally been published on Transparent California which shows the relatively high “other pay” for both Fields ($62,079) and Chief Mark Fronterotta ($128,785) despite Mayor Butts’ public declaration that no one received bonuses last year. Butts failed to identity what the “other pay” consists of.
“That’s a very interesting post about the salaries in Inglewood. I did a quick Google search of another city that has the same population as Inglewood,” said an anonymous resident. “Greenly, Colorado. Here is a list of a few of the comparable salaries. Chief of Police $137k City manager $217k City attorney $194K.”
Fields’ total 2019 compensation with salary and benefits totaled $457,756, Fronterotta’s totaled $452,826 and City Attorney Ken Campos earned $411,443. In fact the 2019 top five earners in the city cost taxpayers $2.5 million.
Mayor Butts’ former girlfriend Melanie McDade earned $220,513 in salary and $128,564 in “other pay” for a total compensation package of $403,308 an increase of nearly $70,000 from her 2018 salary of $342,000. McDade’s employment was terminated at the beginning of 2020.
Brown also provides more clarity on an overpayment made to Pinner Construction that Mayor Butts signed off himself, as opposed to normal protocols where the treasurer does. Brown alleges that $78,000 was overpaid to Pinner Construction, when they were building the Senior Center and questions why it was never returned to the bond proceeds account code despite her bringing to the attention of Asst Finance Director Sharon Koike.
Brown is demanding to know where the money is and and so are taxpayers. Brown has called for both a state and federal investigation into the city.Treasurer Report 6-9-2020