Thursday, June 23, 2011

Private Investigator News: Public Records Act Requires Disclosure of County Retiree Pension Information

"By now, most local government officials and employees know that their names and associated salary and benefit information are generally considered a matter of public record under the California Public Records Act ('Act'). Back in 2007, the California Supreme Court ruled that disclosure of individual salary information did not violate the constitutional right to privacy. (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 AFL CIO v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 319.) Citing a strong public policy in favor of government transparency and the ability of the public to monitor government spending, the Court held that public employees did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their salaries. Only in certain specific situations, such as when an employee's personal safety requires anonymity, can public agencies prevent the disclosure of employee salary information.

In May 2011, a Court of Appeal clarified for the first time that, like public employee salaries, county retiree names and pension amounts are public records subject to disclosure under the Act. (Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System (SCERS) v. Superior Court (Third Appellate District, 2011) No. C065730.)"

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