December 2022 update: In response to our lawsuit, the City promptly provided all of the requested public records and paid all of the legal costs we were forced to incur to compel the City’s compliance.
Original November 17, 2022 release: The Nevada Policy Research Institute filed suit against the city of Compton Thursday for refusing to release public information in accordance with state law.
Compton officials have refused to disclose data documenting the names and salaries of its employees, as required by California open records law, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The lawsuit stems from Nevada Policy’s work on its TransparentCalifornia.com website – which publishes more than 38 million pay and pension records for California public employees from more than 5,300 government agencies..
Transparent California first submitted a request to the city in November 2021 asking for records documenting the name and wages of district employees for calendar year 2020. California state law requires government bodies to release the names and salaries of public sector workers.
After ignoring multiple requests over the course of five months
, Compton officials in April 2022 responded by providing a copy of information already available on the state Controller’s Office website.
But that information did not include employee names, as required.
Despite repeated attempts to secure the information, Compton officials have refused to comply.
The lawsuit asks the Court to compel the city to comply with the California Public Records Act. Once received, the information will be published online at TransparentCalifornia.com, with data already received from 500 other California cities.
By refusing to disclose information regarding how tax dollars are being spent, district officials do a disservice to the communities they ostensibly serve, according to Transparent California Director of Research, Todd Maddison.
“There is no consequence to Public officials who simply ignore requests under the Public Records Act because such deliberate illegal behavior carries no penalty.” Maddison said. “The rest of us face serious consequences for refusing to comply with state law but public officials can defy a constitutional mandate with impunity.”
Californians will never receive the full transparency promised under the Public Records Act until the Legislature treats public officials the same as all other Californians and imposes a penalty on those who choose to ignore the law, Maddison added.
For more information, please contact Todd Maddison at 760-300-3712 or firstname.lastname@example.org.