The fall of Rizzo

Patrick Gibbons

Remember Robert Rizzo, the Bell, Calif., city manager who got himself 12-percent-a-year pay increases for nearly 20 years, allowing him to retire at an annual salary of nearly $800,000 (earning him a sizeable pension for the rest of his life)?

Apparently, that money wasn’t enough. Rizzo, along with seven other city officials, has been arrested on corruption charges. Rizzo apparently made $1.9 million worth of loans to himself and paid himself an additional $4.3 million through the city’s other contracts. Other city officials combined to pay themselves an additional $1.25 million.

Contrary to what you might hear in the media or from talking heads, working for the government does not magically make greed and corruption disappear from your system. Let me repeat that point in another way: Working for government does not convert you into an angel.