Back in June we sent an OIA request to the KCDC on their top salary (over $100,000) bands.
The response was that it would take 5 hours for them to work that out, and if we wanted that information it would cost us $376. So we referred the letter to the Ombudsman’s Office. An investigator got in touch with the KCDC (presumably the letter writer) and was told that 5 hours was actually a bit excessive and it would only take them 3 hours. Was that acceptable? The reason he was given is that the figures need to be checked by 3 different people: thus presumably an hour each.
Well, we are only dealing with the salaries and fringe benefits of about 50 people: three hours total for that? We are sure that if you went to the Chief Accountant of a medium size business employing 350 people he/she would be able to put these figures together in 20 minutes max. But, with the KCDC, no, it’s three hours.
We still haven’t heard back from the Ombudsman’s Office on its decision of what it thinks of that, but in some ways that’s less the issue than the bureaucratic inefficiency that it reveals. The KCDC annual report for 2015-2016 is online with its own condensation of salary information and in early October, the 2016-2017 annual report should be there.
In contrast to the hush, hush, secret squirrel world of the KCDC (and certainly other councils in NZ), in the U.S. a heap of information is made freely available about salaries, and not just in government organisations, but private enterprise, too.
Here is a little tongue-in-check commentary about salaries in the City of Los Angeles, and some details are most interesting. The Mayor? $237,453. Remember, we’re talking about a city of 4 million, not 52,000. But there are 521 city employees who get more than that. The Chief of Police? $351,692. OK, you don’t want someone like that succumbing to bribes. General Manager Airports? $313,520. This includes LAX, the world’s most congested, so it sounds reasonable. The City Administrative Officer? $282,381.
But there are other job titles with salaries that make you shake your head. Then that’s the nature of government, isn’t it?