Los Angeles County supervisors Tuesday ordered an investigation into the finances of the troubled city of Vernon.
County supervisors are worried that Vernon, which is facing disincorporation, would burden the county’s budget if it is dissolved and its obligations are dumped on the county, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Vernon has a tiny population but is home to many industrial businesses and has more than $500 million of outstanding debt, much of it tied to its electric utility. A bill to disincorporate the city is moving through the Legislature.
Vernon has fewer than 100 residents and found itself in the media spotlight in the wake of the salary scandal last summer in the neighboring city of Bell.
In October 2010, the office of then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, who was elected governor the following month, subpoenaed Vernon, seeking information on salaries paid to top city executives.
The attorney general’s office noted that the city had paid its former administrator and attorney Eric Fresch more than $1.6 million in 2008, and that in 2009 Vernon paid two other city executives more than $785,000 each. Former city administrator Bruce Malkenhorst Sr., who retired in 2005, receives an annual pension of more than $500,000.