Vernons mayor, interim city attorney resign

11/1/2011, 7:42 a.m.

VERNON, Calif.--Vernon Mayor Hilario "Larry" Gonzales and interim City Attorney Mike Montgomery resigned today following criticism from Sen. Kevin De Leon.

Gonzales submitted his resignation, but it won't become effective until his pension payments are confirmed by the California Public Employee System, the Los Angeles Times reported on its website.

Gonzales has been a member of the City Council since 1974 and mayor since 2009.

Montgomery's resignation was effectively immediately, the city's Fred MacFarlane said.

However, he will remain as attorney for the Vernon Redevelopment Agency and Vernon's Light & Power Department.

De Leon, D-Los Angeles, criticized Gonzales and two other council members for voting Oct. 18 to make Montgomery the permanent city attorney without placing the item on its agenda, according to The Times. The vote was also criticized by former Attorney General John Van de Kamp, the city's ethics adviser, The Times reported.

De Leon, whose district includes Vernon, helped defeat a bill that would dissolve Vernon, which has long been plagued by corruption.

Critics have long argued that Vernon is governed like a fiefdom for the benefit of a small group of leaders who earn large salaries. The city owns nearly all the homes within its borders, essentially making the City Council the landlord for voters.