Sunday, April 24, 2011

Why Are Some California Municipalities Hiding Their Spending?

Four years ago, the California Supreme Court ruled that the salaries of government employees are a matter of public record, and the Bay Area News Group has spent much of 2011 requesting information on the pay, pensions, insurance, and deferred compensation given to workers in northern California. Yet according to this story from the Contra Costa Times, many cities, special districts, and school boards throughout California are stalling in complying with the requests. As of now, the Group has only received responses to about half their requests. Among the entities not responding to requests on employee spending are the Mount Diablo, Berkeley, Oakland, Kentfield, and San Rafael school districts, as well as the cities of Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Daly City, Atherton, Woodside, Sausalito, Corte Madera, and Fairfax. Other government bodies in cities such as Oakland, San Francisco, and Palo Alto have only partly complied with the requests.

Since recent experiences with cities like Bell, Maywood, and Montebello have shown the importance of being suspicious, we'll go ahead and ask: what exactly are these agencies hiding? Is it possible they want their true costs disguised at a time when an all-cuts California budget is still on the table?


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