The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

November 26, 2010
City salaries out in the open

By Ryan Lillis

Sacramento City Hall wants you to know that it's not Bell.

As you probably remember, Bell is the Los Angeles-area city where it was discovered that the city manager and other top executives were making hefty salaries. Eight officials, including the city manager, were arrested.

When the news out of Bell broke this summer, cities and counties across California scrambled to show that their public official salaries were in check. On Tuesday, at the request of Mayor Kevin Johnson, the Sacramento City Council was told what City Hall was doing.

The most notable steps include:

• Posting the salaries of the mayor, council members and top officials on the city's website, For the record, the highest paid city employee is interim City Manager Gus Vina, who makes $215,000. Johnson makes $116,646, and the part-time council members make $60,800.

• Providing a link on the city's website to the state controller database of city worker salaries around the state.

• Giving information on how salaries are set for every city position.

At Tuesday's council meeting, the mayor said the city "wanted to set an example."

"We don't want to just do what other cities are doing," he said. "We want to push the bar a little further when it comes to accessibility and transparency."

Councilman Kevin McCarty added that he'd like individual city worker salaries to be searchable by those employees' names.

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