Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

By Phillip Reese
preese@sacbee.com

State Controller John Chiang has asked the University of California system to disclose employee pay data so he can publish it online, but system officials say they probably aren't going to give Chiang all that he wants.

Meanwhile, the comprehensive listing of UC salaries that the UC system usually publishes on its own each year -- posted in a searchable database at www.sacbee.com/statepay -- has been delayed once again, and is now several months late compared to previous years.

UC pay is a hot topic at the moment as students and parents wonder whether fee increases have partially gone to fund pay raises for staff, administrators and faculty. Without 2010 pay data, there's no definitive, comprehensive answer yet to that question.

Following a pay scandal involving officials in the southern California city of Bell, Chiang's office began mandating that local governments and special districts submit information about each employee's pay to his office.

The information is published on Chiang's website and includes pay data on hundreds of thousands of employees. The website does not name employees but gives their job titles.

Recently, Chiang added payroll data for all state civil service workers and the California State University system.

Earlier this year, Chiang asked officials at the state's community colleges and the University of California to submit the same data. He wants the job title, pay range and actual total pay as reported on tax forms for each employee, along with how much their agency paid on their behalf into retirement and health care plans.

"Jack Scott's office immediately embraced the idea," said Chiang spokesman Garin Casaleggio, referring to the state's community college chancellor. The UC system, however, did not.

UC officials said it would cost $1.5 million in programming and labor costs to produce the report for Chiang -- and that they don't have the money.

UC spokesman Steve Montiel confirmed that amount, but said he wasn't sure of the exact details as to why it would cost so much, other than that the UC system has a huge payroll database that is difficult to query.

Casaleggio said Chiang's office is still in discussion with the UC system. The controller's office can levy fines of up to $5,000 to agencies that don't provide mandated financial information.

Montiel noted that UC publishes a list of every employee's salary each year -- with names. The list includes job title, regular pay and total pay, but omits health care costs and pension contributions.

"We would be happy to provide them with links to the state web site" with the same pay data usually released, Montiel said.

But that data -- usually published in May or early June -- still isn't ready. Montiel said the data is now prepared by a different UC department, and the switch has caused delays. Montiel estimates that the data will be ready by the end of the month. Once The Bee obtains the data, it will post the salaries online.



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