Friday, August 19, 2011

UC opts out of controller’s public pay database (and shouldn't)

Below is a news article and a comment by yours truly that follows the article:

UC opts out of controller’s public pay database (excerpt)

8/18/11, San Diego Union-Tribune

Hundreds of government agencies across the state, from the Vista Irrigation District to the Governor’s Office, have provided state Controller John Chiang with detailed salary and benefit information on public employees. Not the University of California… The UC system is the only state agency that has not complied. UC officials said they already maintain a listing of employee salaries, with formulas to estimate the cost of other benefits. The complete database of UC employees’ pay is available at UCSD’s Geisel Library or upon request.

The controller’s database, by contrast, is available on the Internet. It enumerates the actual dollar amount of the employees’ medical, dental and vision benefits, the amount the employer contributed for pensions and the total compensation — including allowances and stipends not included in base pay.

To provide that level of detail would be too expensive, said Dianne Klein, spokeswoman for UC President Mark Yudof. The 10-campus system is trying to cover a $650 million cut in state funding, and said this week it plans merit raises for employees who make less than $200,000…

Full article at

Editorial note from yours truly: This is a more complicated issue than it might seem. First, yours truly has long opposed such listings BY EMPLOYEE NAME because of privacy issues and the danger of ID theft.

When I have challenged those newspapers that maintain pay databases by name to publish their own employee payrolls by name, I get the usual claptrap back. But, of course, they don't publish their payrolls by name for obvious reasons.

Second, however, is the fact that the controller, unlike the newspapers, does not publish by name. He publishes by job title. That is very different. There are typically many employees under a single job title. Given the imperfect world, we should encourage the job title approach and not get into a fight with the controller.

CSU is in the controller’s database since he issues paychecks for that system. You can find CSU salaries at

However, if you click on the link above, you will see that only job titles appear. For example, the first salary listed there is an “Accompanist I (Range 1)” at Cal State Fresno. But there is no individual name.

And, by the way, the state controller might someday run for, and be, governor. (No one has ever had his/her life ambition to be just state controller.) A word to the wise: It's nice to have friends in high places.

Update: The Sacramento Bee version of this story is at The Bee is one of the newspapers that carries pay info by name.

1 comment:

cloudminder said...

re: the stuff in bold

if that is the true source of concern about fully cooperating with the state's request -- well,would have expected more posts on that topic as it relates to IT incidents at UC -students, patients, employees etc- but haven't seen any blog posts here on it. Did we miss them?- there have been many many incidents. links?