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The enormous salaries paid to some officials in a small Southern California town came as a shock to its residents. The state's top finance officer presented a plan Tuesday to avoid more high six-figure surprises.
Responding to the uproar over salaries paid to elected officials and top administrators in Bell, state Controller John Chiang directed all cities and counties in California to provide a report of employees' and elected officials' salaries. That information will then be posted on the controller's website.
"The absence of transparency is a breeding ground for waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars," Chiang said. "A single website with accessible information will make sure that excessive pay is no longer able to escape public scrutiny and accountability."
Municipalities are already required to provide summary information about revenues and expenditures to the controller's office. Payroll information is included in overall amounts provided for individual agencies.
The new rule will require governments to provide salaries for each classification of elected official and public employee.
Chiang said the website listing the public employee salaries will be updated annually. Governments that fail to provide the data will be fined up to $5,000.
LA City Controller Wendy Greuel announced similar steps Monday. Greuel said she has instructed staff members to create an online database that lists salaries of LA city positions.