BELL, Calif. — The mayor of Bell apologized Monday for the excessive salaries paid to city officials and said he will step down after completing his term without pay.

Mayor Oscar Hernandez said in a statement posted on the Bell city clerk's website that the salaries were indefensible.

Four of the five members of the City Council earn about $100,000 a year for running the blue-collar city of about 40,000 people.

The city's chief administrative officer was earning nearly $800,000 a year before he resigned last week.

Hernandez last week defended the city's salaries.

He said he will not collect any pay for the remainder of his term, which expires in March.

Earlier in the day, the city said in a statement that the City Council intended to drastically reduce their pay at meeting Monday night.

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

Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo made $787,637 a year, getting a series of raises since being hired in 1993 at $72,000. President Barack Obama makes $400,000.

Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia made $376,288 a year.

Police Chief Randy Adams earned $457,000 — $150,000 more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.

The six-figure salaries at City Hall have prompted backlash from the community and investigations by the California attorney general and county district attorney.

Bell is located southeast of Los Angeles. About 17 percent of its residents live in poverty.