Some Cities Face Potential $5,000 Fines

By Mike Luery

Several California cities face thousands of dollars in penalties for failing to disclose just how much their government workers are making on the job. The cities include Amador and Ione in Amador County and Oakdale in Stanislaus County. All three cities have so far failed to comply with the State Controller’s edict to provide public records of salaries and compensation. Now they face potential $5,000 fines. State Controller John Chiang posted the list on his web site.

“After we witnessed the situation in Bell, people lost faith,” Chiang told CBS 13. He added, “They started becoming very critical of what was taking place in government.”

Chiang’s website shows the salary, pension benefits and other compensation for 674,000 city and county employees in calendar year 2010. The posting include wages and other forms of compensation worth $38.8 billion.

“My office is doing everything we can to make sure that we restore trust and we restore confidence and we restore accountability,” Chiang told CBS 13.

Another northern California city that failed to file on time – didn’t even know about the state requirement until On the Money showed up – and informed the city manager.

“Well this was news to me,” said Isleton City Manager Dave Larsen. When you called yesterday we learned for the first time,” he told On The Money.

Isleton is now sending in the paperwork to the State Controller. The documents will show Dave Larsen is one of the lowest paid city managers anywhere – at just $75,000 a year. He’s also Isleton’s city attorney and his combined salary for the two jobs is $135,000.

But Larsen has been city manager for just two months and was unaware of the reporting requirement.

“We hadn’t known about it,” he said. “I’m sure there are other things we don’t know about at this point. We’re on a learning curve.”

Isleton is not the only town late to file its salary and compensation report. Rio Vista, on the Solano County side of the Sacramento River was also tardy. On The Money asked city manager Hector De La Rose why the delay?

“There’s a lot of priorities in our finance department and this was one of those items that just fell down the priority list,” De La Rosa told CBS 13.

Rio Vista did finally send in the paperwork.

De La Rosa, who makes $130,000 a year as city manager, says he’s developing new protocols to make sure Rio Vista complies on time next year.

Meanwhile, the state controller has discovered the disclosure information on his Web site has become very popular.

“We’ve had over five million hits on our Web site so obviously people are very interested,” Chiang told CBS 13. “We want that information on our Web site so people can access it,” he added.

To see what government workers are making in your community, just click here.


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