Thursday, April 28, 2011

Are Tough Days Ahead for California's Dirtbag Politicians?

Apparently Sacramento is starting to notice what's going on in places like Bell and Montebello. The LA Times reports today that several bills aimed at increasing government transparency have been pushed through the committee stage by state lawmakers.

Admit it, you all miss me now.
According to the Times, yesterday saw a dozen bills move through that, if passed, will require public disclosure of government officials' compensation (including benefits and perks), improve public notice in advance of meetings where officials' pay decisions will be made, require performance reviews before large pay raises can be awarded, restrict automatic renewal of government contracts, and increase the state controller's authority to look into municipal finances.

Naturally, representatives of many counties and cities oppose the bills, and they're joined by at least some legislators. The mayor of Lakewood noted that the state controller already requires officials' salaries to be posted on its website (though it doesn't require disclosure of perks and doesn't name specific officials). Others, including Assemblyman Chris Norby (R-Fullerton), worry that the changes may go too far, and punish all municipalities for the misconduct of a handful of cities. For his part, Norby helped to kill a measure that would prohibit automatic renewals in managers' contracts, as well as automatic raises that increase at a rate faster than cost of living.

Of course, here at Golden State Liberty we love the idea of public officials having increasing reporting burdens. Any time they spend meeting duplicative transparency requirements is time they can't spend making citizens poorer. And given that eleven more anti-corruption bills are working their way up the ladder in Sacramento now, that might be exactly what's coming to them.


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