Wednesday, June 29, 2011

San Diego County Confronts the Horror of Public Records Disclosure

Back in May, an appeals court ruled that Sacramento County's employee pension system was obligated, by the state's Public Records Act, to divulge the names and pension packages of retirees to journalists. At the time, we noted that this could have implications for other California counties who operated their own retirement plans outside of CalPERS. Ventura County, for one, chose to abandon its resistance to a local paper's request for its pension data. And yesterday, the forces of accountable and transparent government claimed another victim, as San Diego County's Employee Retirement Association was ordered by an appeals court to turn over data on its pensions to the activist group Californians for Fiscal Responsibility. Specifically, the court rejected the county's argument that state laws prohibited them from releasing individual records, as well as its argument that disclosures could subject retirees to "criminal mischief, such as identity theft, elder abuse or home invasion by criminals who would target them based on the publicized size of their pension." We're sure that this will pale in comparison to the criminal mischief of the pension packages that County taxpayers are going to be learning about.


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