Transparency in government, especially when it comes to public employee compensation costs, is nothing new. However in the wake of the compensation and benefits scandal in the City of Bell and several other incidents of government waste and abuse, transparency has taken on a new meaning and has been a subject of intense public debate at various levels of government.
Efforts to Change
The State Legislature has passed numerous bills over the past two years in an effort to mandate transparency in government and to give the public better access to public employee compensation costs. While some of these bills have significantly changed, in large part to the good, how public employee compensation is reported, other bills are trying to fix problems that do not exist and in the process are creating inconsistent and inaccurate reporting which hampers transparency.
People look to government institutions to work on their behalf and provide oversight on matters that significantly impact their quality of life. Government fulfills this role most effectively when its activities are open and transparent to citizens. With visibility into government actions and spending, people are more likely to participate in the political process and hold government officials accountable for their actions. When citizens engage in the issues that affect them, they can help to ensure that power and public funds are used wisely and are representative of their interests.
While not easy to implement or maintain, transparency and good government are undoubtedly worth the price. The Placentia City Council and City Staff are strongly committed to maintaining the highest level of transparency in government and will continue to post information on employee compensation costs and other matters of public interest on the City’s website so that the public has open access to this information.