California state controller orders municipalities to report salaries
In response to the controversy surrounding unusually high salaries for some officials in Bell, Calif., California State Controller John Chiang on Tuesday ordered new reporting requirements for all cities and counties in the state. Local governments have been directed to clearly identify elected officials’ and public employees’ compensation, and the information will be posted on the controller’s website, starting in November.
Bell reportedly spent $1.6 million annually on just three city employees, and nearly $100,000 for each part-time city councilmember, according to Chiang’s office. Chiang ordered an audit of Bell’s finances last week at the request of the Bell’s interim city administrative officer. “The absence of transparency is a breeding ground for waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Chiang said in a statement. “A single website with accessible information will make sure that excessive pay is no longer able to escape public scrutiny and accountability.”
Under current California law, local governments are required to transmit summary information about their revenues and expenditures to the State Controller’s office. Payroll information is included in the total amount listed for each category of program, such as public protection, health and welfare, and governing body. The data is compiled and used to produce annual reports for the state legislature. The Controller’s new rules require cities and counties to provide the salaries for each classification of elected official, such as mayor and supervisor, and public employee, such as city manager and county administrator.
Cities and counties generally are required to provide the information to the Controller by mid-October of each year. The Controller’s website will be updated annually to reflect the most recent data received. Local governments that fail to report on time could face a penalty of up to $5,000.
Read Chiang’s statement.