The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

November 11, 2010
The Money Trail: Mayor gets his library - city's cost is $9,805

The unofficial Kevin Johnson Mayoral Library is open - but just for himself and his colleagues on the Sacramento City Council.

City crews recently finished renovating a room on City Hall's fifth floor into a library at Johnson's request. Mayors can do whatever they want with the room. It's not clear how it was used under former Mayor Heather Fargo, but crews apparently had to remove lots of boxes when they began work.

The labor cost of the project - including fresh paint, a wall mounting for a flat-screen television and new electrical outlets - was $9,805, a city invoice says.

Johnson's aides said the mayor paid for most of the furnishings and that over the past two years, they had avoided many of the office upgrades afforded new mayors.

As the room is behind the locked door that separates the public from the mayor and council offices, you can't just walk off the street and spend a few minutes there. That privilege is reserved for council and its staff.

Still, it could be difficult for council members to plow through "War and Peace" there. In an e-mail sent to City Council offices announcing the opening of the library, Lisa Serna-Mayorga, the council operations manager, wrote she "will be most able to accommodate requests of under 60 minutes."

Priority for using the room goes to the mayor, of course. "He will be using the room for both scheduled and impromptu meetings with his staff and guests," Serna-Mayorga's e-mail said.

- Ryan Lillis

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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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