COMMENTARY: County Education Fails to File Compensation Reports

Only Aromas/San Juan Unified complies with state requirements

According to the information on file at the California State Controller’s Office, Aromas/San Juan Unified was the only San Benito County education entity to file an acceptable report for 2013 detailing their public employee compensation.

Seven entities, San Benito County Office of Education, Bitterwater-Tully Union Elementary, Cienega Union Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, North County Joint Union Elementary, Tres Pinos Union Elementary, and Willow Grove Union Elementary, failed to file any report with the State Controller's Office.

Three entities, Hollister Elementary, San Benito High, and Southside Elementary submitted a non-compliant report to the State Controller's Office for 2013. "A non-compliant K-12 public entity is one that has filed a compensation report that was incomplete, was in a format different than the one requested by the Controller's Office, or was submitted after the reporting deadline and is currently in the review process."

It has been long established that the taxpayers have the right to information concerning the compensation paid to public employees. This data typically lags the current date by many months, but it should not lag by years.  It is now May 2015, and the data in question is for calendar year 2013, but there are still no information for 10 of San Benito’s 11 reporting entities.  After some period the data becomes so old that it loses its usefulness.

In fact, the reporting requirements are being ignored statewide by the K-12 education system; of the more than 1,760 education reporting entities, less than 39 percent have reports currently on file for 2013.  This cannot be a coincidence, the problem is too widespread.  I believe it's a typical government response to public information requirements that have no penalty – they are simply ignored or the work is careless.  Would the education employees consistently accept missing paychecks because the districts could not generate a payroll? Of course not; so, the information is available. 

The local question is, what’s the latest excuse for our county education system that gets the lion’s share of our property taxes for failing to perform even this basic function?

Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.