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State Launches Website Listing Government Salaries, Handful of Local Cities Not in Compliance

John Chiang arrives at the city of Bell | AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
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As promised in August, State Controller John Chiang has launched a website detailing the salaries and other compensation of city and county governments throughout California. The move followed the city of Bell scandal, in which employees and part-time city councilmembers of the Southeastern L.A. County municipality were found to be earning sky high salaries and now face charges. While a majority of local governments complied with releasing salary data, a number did not, including a handful in the Los Angeles. They are Calabasas, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Long Beach, Montclair, Montebello, Pico Rivera, South El Monte and Vernon. Additionally, a number of cities and counties filed, but with incomplete records: Orange and Santa Barbara counties, Avalon, El Monte, Newport Beach, Orange and Paramount.

“The absence of transparency and accountability invites corruption, self-dealing, and the abuse of public funds,” said Chiang in a statement. “This website will help taxpayers scrutinize local government compensation and force public officials to account for how they spend public resources.”

Beyond cities, Chiang appears to be leaving no stone unturned. He is also requiring other government agencies to report salary and compensation data. This week he will mail letters to 828 transit, waste disposal, fire and police protection special districts requesting the information. And by June of 2011, he expects to have data from the remaining 2,535 independent special districts as well.