To mark the beginning of National Sunshine Week, I unveiled today a proposal to advance open government reforms at City Hall. The proposal, to be discussed at an upcoming City Council committee meeting, is titled the “Sunshine Act for City Hall.” It would require the City to post all contracts, transactions, pension obligations, proposed city labor contracts, and employee compensation records online.
It’s time to let the sunshine in at City Hall – by providing the public with more open, transparent information on decisions, payments and transactions. I’m proposing tough new sunshine laws to provide more transparency on employee compensation, city contracts, campaign contributions, and performance metrics.
I have always been an advocate for increased openness and transparency at City Hall for the last eight years. I have gathered and disclosed information to the public about pension payouts, excessive salaries, and other information which would not have been published otherwise.
The content of proposed labor union contracts should be disclosed to the public prior to offers being made in city labor negotiations – which are held behind closed doors. By the time these labor deals are revealed to the public, it is too late to change anything – and state law does not allow the city to back away from parts of tentative deals even if the public demands otherwise. That’s why we need full transparency for the public on any labor contract terms before our elected officials offer those deals behind closed doors.
Transparency has not come easily to City Hall. As recently as this year, my office was informed by city officials that employee compensation data could not be provided that specifically lists salaries, overtime, bonuses, and specialty pay, despite the investment of millions of dollars in the new SAP data management system.
No one should have to beg for this information – whether they are a member of the public or even a Council member. That’s why I’m calling for San Diego’s very own ‘Sunshine Law’ which will require that this kind of information be made public and posted in a user-friendly online format.
For more information on my transparency plan please visit my website here
DeMaio has led by example by proactively publishing his city calendar so that the public can see exactly who he is meeting with about city issues since he first took office in 2008.
National Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know. This non-partisan, non-profit initiative is celebrated in mid-March each year.