Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A right and a need to know salaries of Kuna public employees

Like many people across the country, I read with great dismay the news story over the summer about the city of Bell, Calif., paying its city manager over $800,000, its police chief $457,000 and city council members nearly $100,000 for the part-time positions.
My very first reaction was, “They must not have a weekly newspaper keeping watch on their budget.”
Over the past four years, I’ve covered the budgets of the city of Kuna and the school district, and to a lesser extent, the Kuna Library District and the Kuna Rural Fire District. I’ve had in my possession the list of salaries of city of Kuna employees, and I’ve typically published the salaries of new employees as they’re hired. However, I’ve never run the full list of city employee salaries.
Earlier this year, when the Kuna school district was looking for $2.6 million in budget cuts, I published a list of all school district administrator salaries and a breakdown of the salaries of all the teachers in the district.
But as I read the stories about Bell, Calif., it occurred to me that I hadn’t looked at all of the salaries of every employee in Kuna, such as the library director, the police chief or the fire chief.
Of course, I wasn’t expecting anything egregious. The entire annual budget for the library district, for example, ($634,000) is less than the annual salary of Bell’s city manager.
This week's issue of the Kuna Melba News contains a story and a full list of all public employees salaries in Kuna.

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