SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger challenged cities Thursday to post officials' salaries on websites if they have nothing to hide.

The Republican governor said Californians were asking what their local government officials were paid after revelations that the Southern California city of Bell paid three of its top administrators a total of $1.6 million a year.

"I think if the city officials have nothing to hide, put the information on the website so people don't even have to call," Schwarzenegger said in a budget speech to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Such information is already public record in California, but many cities and counties don't display the information for the public to easily see.

That could change if the state Legislature moves ahead with proposals being drafted by the League of California Cities.

About 40 city managers discussed the issue Thursday at the league's annual meeting in Sacramento, where the city of Bell was atop the agenda.

The city's chief administrative officer, assistant city manager and police chief resigned last week after The Los Angeles Times reported each was being paid excessive salaries.

The chief administrative officer was the highest paid at $787,637 a year for overseeing a city where 17 percent of the 40,000 residents live in poverty. The salary is twice what President Barack Obama is paid.

Four of the five members of the Bell City Council made about $100,000 before they cut their salaries earlier this week.


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The Los Angeles County district attorney and the state attorney general have opened investigations into the pay of the officials.

"There really has been a violation of public trust," said Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp. "We want to go above and beyond to show we are transparent, and we are open to various solutions."

The league's proposals will be forwarded to the state Legislature.

League executive director Chris McKenzie said it would be unfair to put all cities in the same category as Bell.

"We're talking about a few who unjustly enriched themselves at the expense of many," he said.