* LongBeachReport.com | LBReport.com | City Says Employee Pay Data It Released Appears To Include Inaccuracies & Some Material City Shouldn't Have Released Under State Public Records Law

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City Says Employee Pay Data It Released Appears To Include Inaccuracies & Some Material City Shouldn't Have Released Under State Public Records Law


(May 15, 2010, 9:53 a.m.) -- LBReport.com has learned that a website which published the names and salaries of Long Beach city employees was made aware after its May 11 publication that the data released by the City appears to include inaccuracies...and some data released by the City shouldn't have been released as public records under state law.

In response to a Public Records Act request by LBReport.com, a representative of the City Attorney's office and Assistant City Manager Suzanne Frick indicated that "LBPost.com" was made aware following its publication that the information released by the City under the Public Records Act appears to include inaccuracies [extent or magnitude unclear]...and the City is in the process of correcting the information.

Assistant City Manager Frick also indicated that some of the information released by the City shouldn't have been released as public records under state law. Ms. Frick indicated that a fully accurate and amended database isn't expected to be available until the coming week (starting May 17).

The website has continued to feature the materials on its front page and to our knowledge as of May 15 at 9:30 a.m. -- more than four days after its publication -- hasn't informed its readers of these matters.

The City provided LBReport.com with the material it previously released under the Public Records Act; LBReport.com has chosen not to publish it in its present form since the City has indicated that it may include inaccuracies and information that shouldn't have been released by the City as public records under state law. We have requested, and the City has agreed to provide us, with a copy of the accurate and amended information when it is available.

LBReport.com asked "LBPost.com" -- which told readers that its actions were meant to promote transparency -- the following question at late afternoon May 14 (more than three days after it published the data):

"Is it true that the city informed LBPost days ago that the city employee pay data it released to you contains some inaccuracies and some information released to you wasn't supposed to be released under state law and if so is any of that information still on your website?"

Ryan ZumMallen, whose name appears on two public records act requests for data (one in November 2009, another in February, 2010, details below) and is listed as the website's "managing editor," referred our inquiry to website publisher Shaun Lumachi.

Emailed the same question at late afternoon May 14, Mr. Lumachi replied by email that he had been in contact with City Manager Pat West and Assistant City Manager Suzanne Frick regarding their review of his website's public records request for city employee pay data.

"Both City Manager West and Assistant City Manager Frick have told me that they are in the process of reviewing the data previously released...and will be in contact with me with any revisions and explanations of those revisions. [We have] yet to receive any revised data," he replied and directed any questions regarding the data to the City Manager's office.

Public Records Act materials obtained by LBReport.com indicate that Mr. ZumMallen requested a list of city salaries in November 2009 and made a second slightly modified request in February 2010, both times explicitly seeking the first and last names of city employees. The city provided data in response to the first request in early December 2009 and in response to the second request on April 7. 2010.

Other online websites have published searchable lists of government employee salaries...but in many cases accompany it with more detailed reporting. In 2008, the Los Angeles/SFV Daily News published Los Angeles city employee salaries alongside articles analyzing the data with the searchable database appearing basically as a sidebar. SacBee.com, which has published state employee and CSULB salaries, does so as part of larger coverage of government employee matters.

Several years ago, Long Beach Business Journal publisher George Economides began publishing an annual list of City Hall's "$100,000 Club" (city employees earning $100k+) which includes detailed reporting, comparisons and context.


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