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L.A. to Publish City Hall Salaries Online
Photo by calvinfleming via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
In the wake of the sky high salaries scandal in the city of Bell, city of Los Angeles officials got a heads up yesterday: their salaries, along with all of their staffs, would be published online as soon as possible. "At the end of the day, we all work for the citizens of Los Angeles and it is their right to know how their tax dollars are being spent," City Controller Wendy Greuel wrote in a letter on Monday. "I've instructed my staff to work... to expeditiously create an online searchable webpage that lists the salaries of City positions as soon as possible."
Such an idea is nothing new, but hasn't been done in awhile. In 2008, the Daily News created a number of databases, including one detailing the salaries of 48,000 city workers. Another one looked into overtime pay.
Since then, a lot has changed, but trying to compare the city's new database with the Daily News' will be difficult. Unlike the newspapers version, in which employee names were listed alongside their salary, the city hall one will only list position title by department with salary information.
For the most part, employee names and their salaries are public information -- that means the Daily News or any other publication can print them -- but in order to get this database live in the shortest amount of time, the Greuel's office will go with a basic version, according to Controller spokesperson Ben Golombek.
He explained that a number of employees names are protected by law for various reasons such as public safety personnel, employees who have been threatened and those who handle sensitive information. To go through, redact those names and then double-triple check the list to ensure they are not listed would slow the database's creation down and the goal is to get it live next week.
Salaries at the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, however, will not be published. "We don't handle their payroll," said Golombek.