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City to post employee salaries

Costa Mesa city manager hopes information can be posted online in a few weeks, not months.

August 05, 2010|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — City officials plan to post employees' salaries online in hopes of making them more readily available for public review.

Costa Mesa began discussing whether to post all municipal salaries before the Los Angeles Times began a series on high salaries in Bell, which led to the resignation of the city manager, assistant city manager and police chief. Costa Mesa began discussing the idea in May after an Orange County Register blogger published a survey of city managers' salaries countywide.

"I think certainly in light of all the public discussion, I think it's a good idea," City Manager Allan Roeder said. "As we envision it at this point, and again, this is something at the discussion stage, my expectation is that it will be done by job title and/or job classification for all positions, not just for managers."

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Though the information on salaries is public and must legally be made available to anyone who asks, the city manager said members of the public would rather find the information online.

"One of the comments that was made frequently is the desire to look up information on the website," Roeder said. "It's not something that, to my knowledge, we have received any special requests for, but it certainly seemed like a good idea."

Getting the information online in a clear and precise manner can be challenging, given the number of categories that could potentially be included, including salaries, medical benefits and pensions, among others, Roeder said.

"Because you have different benefits to different classifications, it would be easier perhaps, if there was one standard benefit schedule that applies to all employees, but of course that's not the case," he said.

But Roeder said publishing such information is indeed possible, it's just a matter of figuring out how to present the information in a clear and simple manner.

"I would hope that it's something we can do in a matter of weeks, as oppose to matter of months," he said.

Roeder and his top staff's salaries are less than Bell city's former manager, assistant city manager and police chief. Roeder earns $207,291 a year.

Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff on Wednesday posted a letter on the city's website, and in the Daily Pilot, detailing his salary and position on the issue. Kiff's annual salary is $225,000.

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