State releases new local-government salary database
The state launched a website Monday on which Californians can see how much money cities and counties pay their workers, but dozens of municipalities have failed to file the information and could face fines of up to $5,000 unless they comply.
The website was created by State Controller John Chiang in response to the Bell salary scandal. Users can search for the salary, pension benefits and other compensation for more than 594,000 city and county employees throughout California.
“The absence of transparency and accountability invites corruption, self-dealing and the abuse of public funds,” Chiang said. “This website will help taxpayers scrutinize local government compensation and force public officials to account for how they spend public resources.”
Chiang said that next, he is requiring 828 transit, waste disposal, fire and police protection special districts to provide the same information by Dec. 13 and that he will expand the website by June to include payroll data on the other 2,535 independent special districts.
He acknowledged that some local government agencies have been slow to respond. The website lists 66 cities and counties that had not yet met the requirement for submitting payroll information.
As of Monday, filings had not been received by cities including Long Beach, Calabasas, South El Monte and Vernon, Chiang’s office said. The Los Angeles Times has created its own database of city manager compensation, located here.
[updated 6:09 p.m.] Later in the day Monday, Long Beach officials submitted their payroll information to the controller’s office. The city manager’s office said in a statement released after hours: ``Long Beach has historically made salary information available, and is one of the few cities that publish salary details in its annual budget. However, the State Controller asked for data in a different format, which took time to compile for each of the City's 6,000 employees. Additionally, Long Beach is unique in that we are only one of five cities in California with a fiscal year that begins in October, and our finance staff has been required to first and foremost attend to implementing the city's budget.’’