Register Targets County Employees

The Orange County Register has decided to target the more than 13,000 men and women employed by the County of Orange for scrutiny.  As Jubal reported over at Red County earler today, the Register submitted a public records request to the county requesting the “names, titles, base pay, bonus pay, overtime pay, or any other type of monetary compensation” for all current County employees and County officials have agreed to the request.

Needless to say, the Orange County Employees Association and Nick Berardino are none to happy about this.  In a letter to Ken Brusic, Editor of the OC Register, Berardino wrote, “we urge you in the strongest terms to refrain from publishing the names or any information obtained through The Register’s public records request that would personally identify any individual County employee…There is nothing newsworthy about connecting the names of individual County employees to their salaries.”

Berardino in his letter (the full text of which will be posted later today) does not argue against the release of the salaries but asks that the names associated to those salaries be kept confidential.  “The public’s right to know, and The Register’s legitimate journalistic objectives, can completely and easily be satisfied by referring to employees by, for example, randomly assigned numbers rather than by name, or by simply listing job titles and salaries”, wrote Berardino.

The release of the names along with the salaries will have a negative impact on the public employees, the overwhelming majority of which are hard working and dedicated public servants.  It is simply reprehensible to think that the Register will follow through with publishing the names and salaries of all the County employees.  How is the a benefit to the public?  Will Brusic agree to publish the same information on all his employees including reporters and editors?

I encourage everyone to call the Orange County Register at (714) 796-7000 and ask for the newsroom.  Tell them that you oppose the release of this information.  If you are a Register subscriber perhaps you should let them know that and suggest that you may have to cancel it and subscribe to the LA Times instead.

  20 comments for “Register Targets County Employees

  1. April 18, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t understand the uproar about this.
    You can find the salaries of federal leg. staffers here:
    http://www.legistorm.com/salaries.html
    And those of state senate/assembly staff here:
    http://www.capitolweekly.net/salaries/
    So why should the salaries of county employees continue to be a big secret?
    If someone has a good reason, I’d like to hear it.

  2. Steven Greenhut
    April 18, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    How is this “targeting” county workers?

  3. April 18, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Steven,

    Please explain how publishing the names and salaries of public employees is a benefit to the public. Wouldn’t replacing the names with a number do the same thing?

  4. April 18, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Sean-
    Take a look at the links I posted. Wanna know how much Ed Royce is paying his field reps these days? It’s listed there on Legistorm – WITH their names.
    Is Spitzer’s chief of staff earning more or less than Chuck DeVore’s? You can find them both listed BY NAME at Capitol Weekly.
    So if you aren’t outraged by these two sites listing how much individuals are making, then why can’t the Register do the same for county level employees?

  5. April 18, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Publius,

    Why stop there?

    Lets publish the names and salaries of all public employees including police officers and sheriff’s. How bout DEA Agents? Are they fair game? Homeland Security officers?

    This isn’t right and you know it. They could easily make their point by publishing the salaries without publishing the names.

  6. Dan Chmielewski
    April 18, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    I just want to know what’s the story about? Why was this information requested and for what purpose?

  7. April 18, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    While I agree that the “public” has the right to know, I do not see why The OCRegister would have the need to publish this information in the way the links you have identified. Political staffers is one thing, I do not believe there is a listing of the salaries by name for every federal employee or for every state employee. There is a difference in the nature of the employment and the function between a field rep for a legislator and an eligibility technician in the County Social Services Agency.

  8. April 18, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    So, explain to me the difference between a press aide to an Assemblymember and a spokesperson for a government agency? How about a federal caseworker who works out of a congressional office?
    One of the downsides in certain fields is that your salary is a matter of public record and subject to public scrutiny. Nobody forces you to work in the public sector.
    I think the difference is simply a personal one to you. One hits much closer to home than the other.

  9. Joey
    April 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Chris, Is there a reason you used eligibility technician? Are you one?

  10. Joey
    April 18, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks, Publius for the information.

    Now I’m pulling my hair out. I should have been a congressional staffer. they makes some bucks for doing Squat???

    Take a phone call from a constituent, make a call to another agency, write a letter to another agency’s. What monkey can’t fo this??

  11. April 18, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Congressional staffer isn’t as easy as it looks, Joey.
    Try attending long, boring dinners many weeknights, being on call on weekends, picking up/dropping off your boss at the airport late at night or early in the morning. Deal with some crazy constituents…
    There’s a reason most are fresh out of college and move on after a few years – burnout.

  12. April 18, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    No Joey , I am not an elicibility technician. I am a HCA Program Supervisor.

  13. Joey
    April 18, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Here’s what I know.

    Papers are in the business to find stories. The more shocking they are the more papers they sell.

    Then, certainly everybody knows that there is a big devide between a few board of supervisors and those representing the 13,000 county employees, the unions. Some on the board of Superviors truly dislike the gains made by the unions despite it was those same supervisors who offered these gains.

    Now, let’s say that a supervisor(s) wanted to put the unions in a bad light and instead of going directly against them, decided to have the OC Register do it for themselves.

    YEs, the Register is doing the dirty work for the Superviors.

    Who is left out in this inquire? The Liberaloc should make the same inquire to the county but take it farther and more specific.

    The liberaloc needs to request the records relating to those two Board of supervisors who brought on this inquire. Alas, the real truth about the way these supervisors conduct themselves in the name of good government will come to light.

    But it’s not over yet, because next we should request all county employees to cancel their OC register subscribtion on May 1st and ask others to do the same.

    Go online to the Rigister site and cancel on May 1st.

  14. Joey
    April 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Publius,

    The examples you gave better enhanced my argument.

    I went on this link and found some dudes I went to school with and they are not recent graduates.

    It’s funny but in the private sector, you are not paid this amount of money for doing the same work.

    Try again,

  15. RHackett
    April 18, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    When your circulation is circling the drain, you grasp at straws to get readers.

    That’s why the Register is doing this. It’ll get published and forgotten in 48 hours.

  16. RHackett
    April 18, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    And I forgot to add.

    After the salaries of public employees has been forgotten, the Register’s circulation will still keep falling.

  17. Sworn to uphold the Constitution
    April 19, 2008 at 7:02 am

    It’s fairly obvious that the Supervisors have chosen to violate their oath of office where they swore to uphold the State Constitution, which offers broader protection for the right of privacy than the US Constitution.

    Typical of modern Republicans who trade in cheap expediency rather than being concerned about fundamental rights. The Register should be ashamed of their arrogant gotcha games and their disdain for the rights of Californians.

    The salaries and classifications are public. Associating them with the names of the employees is an unconstituional violation of their right to privacy.

    CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
    ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

    SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have
    inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and
    liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing
    and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

    CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
    ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

    SEC. 3. (a) The people have the right to instruct their
    representatives, petition government for redress of grievances, and
    assemble freely to consult for the common good.
    (b) (1) The people have the right of access to information
    concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the
    meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and
    agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.
    (2) A statute, court rule, or other authority, including those in
    effect on the effective date of this subdivision, shall be broadly
    construed if it furthers the people’s right of access, and narrowly
    construed if it limits the right of access. A statute, court rule,
    or other authority adopted after the effective date of this
    subdivision that limits the right of access shall be adopted with
    findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and
    the need for protecting that interest.
    (3) Nothing in this subdivision supersedes or modifies the right
    of privacy guaranteed by Section 1 or affects the construction of any
    statute, court rule, or other authority to the extent that it
    protects that right to privacy, including any statutory procedures
    governing discovery or disclosure of information concerning the
    official performance or professional qualifications of a peace
    officer.
    (4) Nothing in this subdivision supersedes or modifies any
    provision of this Constitution, including the guarantees that a
    person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due
    process of law, or denied equal protection of the laws, as provided
    in Section 7.

  18. American
    April 21, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Publishing the job title and salary is not objectional. However, publishing the names of the people in the position leaves that person open for all sorts of danger. Charles Manson was not targeting Sharon Tate. He was after the owner of the house, which he got from public records. Oh well, just a few dead bodies.

  19. Eric
    May 17, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Give me a break.

    Big Deal.

    Every public employee’s wage range is public knowledge. You can get it from their employer’s web page. Specific overtime is not published. It should be.

    There are various reasons why names and pay should be included, such as: uncovering favoritism, discrimination, inefficiency, and bad management.

    In fact, contrary to “Sworn to Uphold the Constitution” our State Supreme Court which is the last word in interpreting the California State Constitution and statutes stated as much in two companion lawsuit opinions this past August.

    See:
    Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training v. Superior Court,
    (2007) 42 Cal.4th 278
    http://login.findlaw.com/scripts/callaw?dest=ca/cal4th/slip/2007/s134253.html

    and

    International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21, AFL-CIO v. Superior Court, (2007) 42 Cal.4th 319
    http://login.findlaw.com/scripts/callaw?dest=ca/cal4th/slip/2007/s134072.html

  20. RG
    May 18, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    The Register asked for the salaries, names, etc. in an ELECTRONIC format.

    The law requires disclosure, but NOT in and ELECTRONIC format.

    The Board, (Mauk, et.al.) succombed to the specific request likely as stated earlier to let the Register do the dirty work…….

Comments are closed.