In the Marin County town of Fairfax, Town Manager Linda Kelly wasn’t sure if the salaries of town employees were public information when she was asked by the Marin Independent Journal. Her last job was in Atherton, one of five San Mateo County cities that won a lawsuit with a newspaper there which allowed them to keep salaries of most workers secret. But Kelly checked with longtime Fairfax Town Clerk Judy Anderson about the town’s historical practice. “She said we have always given out exact salaries, titles and names,” said Kelly, who started in the Fairfax job a few months ago. According to a Marin IJ report by Keri Brenner, Fairfax along with Belvedere, Corte Madera, Mill Valley, Ross, San Rafael and Sausalito all provide the exact compensation of each town employee upon request. However, Larkspur, San Anselmo, Tiburon, and for police, Novato, say public pay is a private matter in their towns, Brenner reports. The issue of whether the salaries of public employees should be public became a controversy in Marin County when the county supervisors approved a policy earlier this year making the information secret. Public pressure, including editorials in the Marin IJ, caused the supervisors to reverse themselves. The Public Records Act requires release of the public payroll, according to Marin IJ attorney Roger Myers. Myers noted the state Court of Appeal ordered the North Marin Water District to release payroll information in 1972, including employee names and specific pay, following a Public Records Act request filed by the IJ.
Some cities disclose salaries, others don't
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