Hanford Sued by Watchdog Group Over Missing Salary Data
A Nevada-based watchdog group is suing the City of Hanford in Kings County for violating the Public Records Act by failing to provide salary information for its employees. The suit was filed by the Nevada Policy Institute on behalf of its website TransparentCalifornia.com, which publishes pay and pension data for 2.5 million public employees from over 2,000 government agencies around the state.
Hanford is the only city in Kings and the only city with more than 20,000 people in California that has failed to provide the information, according to the plaintiff.
“The California Public Records Act is emphatic in its purpose to make public all records concerning governmental affairs,” stated the group’s research director Robert Fellner. “Hanford’s refusal to provide an accounting of city employees and their taxpayer-funded salaries is a clear violation of the law.”
Transparent California was able to get data for 2014 but, after that, the trail went cold. Asked to provide a list of names and salaries for 2015 and 2016, city clerk Jennifer Gomez told the group the city did not have any such document to provide, according to emails included in the suit. Fellner says he then contacted the mayor, city manager, city attorney and finance director to no avail. Transparent California is now asking the court to force the city’s hand.