Last month investigative journalists for the Los Angeles Times uncovered excessive compensation packages for local officials in the small city of Bell in Los Angeles County.

Since the release of the information, special districts have been receiving requests from media to release salary and compensation information about their elected and appointed officials, in addition to their general managers and other employees.

As part of our continuing effort to highlight special district leaders, CSDA has been bringing to light members who have taken proactive steps in transparency. This week we would like to share transparency resources in the area of public records requests. California Public agencies must furnish records pertaining to agency operations funded by public tax dollars pursuant to California Government Code Section 6250 through 6276.48.

Any written request that describes the requested documents will compel compliance with the Public Records Act. However, by making a public records request form easily available online, some districts have taken a step forward toward dutifully complying with the spirit of the law, openly and efficiently responding to questions, concerns, or scrutiny from the public and facilitating a uniform accounting of the records that have been requested in the history of the agency.


Two examples of this proactive approach to public records requests include Western Municipal Water District and Santa Clara Valley Water District.  Each provides an easy-to-use online form. CSDA has included links to these examples, as well as other useful information on its website at After logging in, simply click on “Transparency Resources” located under the Legislative Resources column on the right-hand side of the homepage. In addition to transparency examples, the site offers a comprehensive overview of the legislation introduced in response to the City of Bell controversy.