Mayor Swearengin Announces That City Employee Compensation Information Will Be Posted Online

Mayor Ashley Swearengin today issued the following statement related to the disclosure of compensation information for City employees:

“Following reports of outrageous compensation packages provided to City of Bell officials in southern California, we immediately responded to public and media inquiries by listing the salaries of senior managers and elected officials online two weeks ago.

“We understand and support the public’s right to know the compensation provided to public employees. As a result, we are following up on the action from several weeks ago with a full disclosure of all employees’ compensation within the next week. The Transparency Act proposed today by Councilmembers Lee Brand and Henry T. Perea codifies this practice into law so that it will be required of future city administrations.”

The salaries of senior managers and elected officials can be found on the City’s website at and scrolling to the “Elected and Executive Salary Table.”

As part of the transparency effort, City Manager Mark Scott today distributed the following e-mail about the disclosure of employee compensation to all City employees:

To: All City Employees

From: Mark Scott, City Manager

Date: August 17, 2010

Subject: Disclosure of Employee Compensation

I am sure you have all been watching the public reaction to the Bell, California salary scandal. Understandably, even though Bell is an anomaly among cities, both the public and news media are asking to scrutinize the compensation practices of all local governments. Fresno is no exception.
Responding to public inquiries about two weeks ago, Mayor Swearengin directed that we list salaries on the City website for Mayor, City Council President, City Council Members, City Manager, Assistant City Manager, City Attorney, City Clerk and our fourteen Department Directors. This list can be viewed by clicking on on the City Clerk’s Office web page. We will be expanding this information this week by listing other cash compensations, including car allowance and deferred compensation, and by showing comparison data for similar positions in our traditional comparison cities.

After receiving further public inquiries, Councilmembers Brand and Perea have scheduled a press briefing today to announce their plan to introduce City legislation that will require detailed annual disclosures of all employee compensation, as well as outside professional consultant contracts. In the City Manager’s Office, we have also received news media requests for lists of employee compensation beyond the department head level. Because employee compensation is clearly public information, we have decided the best policy is to be completely transparent and to make our information readily available to the public on our website.

As a result, within the next week, we plan to place a list on the website that will show total cash compensation for each City position. The web listing will be done by department and by job title – not by names (except that it will show names for elected and senior appointed officials). The list will show a single “cash compensation” number for each employee (by job title only) for the 2009 calendar year, provided that the employee was on the payroll for a full twelve months. Cash compensation includes base salary, overtime, salary premiums and differentials, city-paid deferred compensation, car and uniform allowances, etc.

Also on the webpage, by bargaining group, we will identify the non-cash compensation that is not otherwise included in the individual employee compensation numbers. This chart will provide general narrative descriptions of the City’s medical and pension contributions, holiday and leave time, etc. This simply summarizes information that has already been online within adopted Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).

As public employees, I am sure we all share mixed emotions about the backlash from Bell, California and the sudden focus by the public and news media. The City of Fresno has been reasonable and responsible in the allocation of public funds to employee compensation, and our employees have been equally reasonable in recognizing the City’s limitations. Without doubt, listing this information on the website will raise follow-up questions both externally and internally – especially at a time of severe economic stress. Nonetheless, we endorse the public’s right to the details people are seeking. For that reason, we will continue to provide complete, readily available information.

We will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning this subject.