The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

June 23, 2010
Sacramento flood agency approves stealth pay raises

For two weeks, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency has rebuffed efforts by The Bee to learn if salary increases were planned or completed. Finally, we learned yesterday that the agency's board granted or cleared the way for raises ranging from 2 percent to 17.7 percent for five employees.

This information came from Board members; agency executive Stein Buer has never responded to Bee queries -- even though one of his own board members says he publicly disapproved of the silent treatment. Public agencies, such as SAFCA, are obligated by law to make salary data available on request.

Board chair and Sacramento City Councilman Ray Tretheway justified the raises -- including 4 percent to one of SAFCA's executives, and 17.7 percent to a technical expert -- as needed to address pay equity concerns and because of how hard the employees work.

The problems with public disclosure at SAFCA continue: As of this morning, six days after the board meeting at which the salaries were approved, the video of the meeting had not yet been posted on the agency's website. SAFCA normally releases such video records within 48 hours.

Last year Buer himself got a 27 percent raise, to $195,000 annually.

-Charles Piller

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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