BELL -

The mayor of Bell has apologized for the excessive salaries being paid to city administrators and says he will step down after completing his term without pay.

Mayor Oscar Hernandez said in a statement published Monday on the Bell city clerk's website that the salaries being paid to officials were indefensible. The city's chief administrative officer was earning nearly $800,000 a year.

Hernandez last week defended the city's salaries.

He says he will not collect any pay for the remainder of his term, which expires in March. He says will not be seeking re-election. City Council members in a Los Angeles suburb under scrutiny for high salaries say they will drastically reduce their pay.

All four officials make about $100,000, a finding that has prompted backlash from the community and an investigation by the California attorney general.

Bell's city manager, police chief and assistant city manager all resigned at last week's City Council meeting, days after it was revealed they were making salaries totaling $1.6 million a year.

Bell is a poverty-stricken city southeast of Los Angeles with about 40,000 people.