Monday, 15 July 2024

STATE: Controller will require cities, counties to report salaries of government officials

SACRAMENTO – The scandal over a Southern California community's exorbitant pay for public officials is resulting in new reporting requirements.


On Tuesday State Controller John Chiang announced new reporting requirements for all California cities and counties, directing them to clearly identify elected officials and public employees’ compensation.


The information will be posted on the Controller’s Web site, www.sco.ca.gov, starting in November, Chiang said.


“The absence of transparency is a breeding ground for waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Chiang. “A single Web site with accessible information will make sure that excessive pay is no longer able to escape public scrutiny and accountability.”


The new reporting requirements come after the city of Bell reportedly spent $1.6 million annually on just three city employees, and nearly $100,000 for each part-time city council member.


At the request of the city of Bell’s interim city administrative officer, the controller ordered an audit of Bell’s finances last week.


Under current 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 Legislature, Chiang reported.


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.


City and counties generally are required to provide the information to the controller by mid-October of each year, according to Chiang.


The controller’s Web site will be updated annually to reflect the most recent data received, Chiang said. Local governments who fail to report timely could face a penalty of up to $5,000.


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