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City Refuses To Disclose Important Financial Information

Thursday, May. 5, 2011

In an effort to dodge open records laws applying to employee bonuses, the city of Burbank, California has come up with an unbelievable argument: “the information would reveal private performance evaluations and erode workplace morale.”

What about taxpayer morale?

The senior assistant city attorney argues the public record request “falls outside established bounds for access to salary and other compensation information for government employees.” Rather than sharing information about individual bonuses, the city provided an aggregate amount--$1 million for the last fiscal year.

Putting aside the discussion of whether or not city employees should receive bonuses at all, the idea that giving the public important financial data would “create embarrassment, morale disruptions and personal dissension in the workplace” is certainly no basis for hiding these numbers. In fact, the city's position raises red flags about possible favoritism or nepotism.

Burbank is facing an estimated $8.7 million budget gap for the next fiscal year. The public has a right to know where every penny is being spent.

Tags: budget deficits, Burbank California, nepotism, open meeting laws

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