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What Happens To LA Council Members’ Pay And Benefits When They Leave Office?

A close up of a black and white protest sign that reads Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon resign now. We cannot let latinidad divide us. It's being held by a person with a medium skin tone who's standing outside City hall with a group of people.
Protestors demonstrate outside City Hall calling for the resignations of L.A. City Council members Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo in the wake of a leaked audio recording on October 12
(Mario Tama
Getty Images)
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You asked us what happens to councilmembers’ pay and benefits if they resign. So we looked into it. Turns out — not much.

What do they get to keep? They’re paid through their last day of work, and they’re allowed to keep health benefits through COBRA. L.A. City Council members have some of the highest council salaries in the nation, with most members’ base pay being around $218,000.

How about pensions? In short, they keep those too. LACERS, the city system that manages employee retirement plans, is governed by the charter and administrative code, and those don’t have provisions about pension forfeiture. Once council members leave city service, they have the same benefit options as everyone else. On average, the city paid around $80,000 per councilmember on health and pension plans last year.

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Wait, are there really no caveats here? Nope. LACERS says they’re not subject to state rules about forfeiting in cases of felony conviction, which the state’s retirement system CalPERS follows. While there haven’t been any charges, Attorney General Rob Bonta has launched an investigation into the city's redistricting process.