League President Robin Lowe, Hemet council member, said: “We are appalled at the compensation practices in Vernon that are reported in (Friday’s) LA Times. They suggest a continued pattern of unreasonable compensation in this city that was previously reported by the media in connection with the former city administrator.
“These actions are a gross violation of the public trust and vastly exceed the reasonable compensation levels of comparable local agencies. Today’s report simply reinforces the need for greater transparency and accountability from all levels of government. The League is working aggressively on a package of reforms, centered on the notion of greater transparency, empowering greater citizen engagement, and local control.”
Chris McKenzie, League executive director, added: “The League of California Cities believes that transparency is the best form of antiseptic to expose and eliminate these unreasonable compensation practices. It also equips citizens with the ability to hold their elected and appointed officials accountable. That’s why the League of California Cities is taking the following actions:
1) Conducting a compensation survey of all city managers statewide. We are making good progress in obtaining this information and plan to publicly post the results on our website when it is complete in the very near future.
2) We are encouraging cities to continue posting compensation information for their employees in an easy-to-find location on their websites. Transparency will restore the public trust and encourage the citizen participation that is needed to ensure accountability to voters. We believe this is true for all levels of government, and we encourage our colleagues in state and local government to do the same.
3) We are working with the legislature to secure the passage of legislation to require the disclosure of compensation information by local and state governments. Good progress is being made and we believe this goal is within reach in the next week.
4) We are developing updated compensation guidelines for cities to help ensure salaries and compensation of appointed management personnel is fair and equitable for both the employee and the taxpayer.”
McKenzie closed by saying: “It’s a travesty that the actions of a few have served to taint the good work of thousands of elected officials and managers who truly serve the public interest. Nonetheless, today’s revelations reinforce the need for us to lead and ensure maximum transparency in order to restore the public trust.”