The public has an overriding interest in knowing the salaries of public employees, a judge ruled Friday (Sept. 24) in a lawsuit filed by the Contra Costa Times against the city of Oakland, which refused to release the salaries of workers who make more than $100,000. The ruling appears to contradict a similar case, Priceless v. Teamsters, on the Peninsula in which the Palo Alto Daily News (owned by Priceless LLC) was unable to obtain the salaries of public workers in five San Mateo County cities. In that case, a San Mateo County Superior Court Judge, Rosemary Pfeiffer, ruled that the privacy interests of the unionized workers outweighed the public’s right to know. In Friday’s ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Brick went the opposite direction, saying salary data “is needed to scrutinize public budgets to (make sure) taxpayers’ limited resources are well spent.” Undoubtably the ruling will be appealed.

SF Press Club News

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