I am writing to set the record straight about The Bond Buyer’s April 5 story, “Privately Run California Conduits Don’t Disclose Salaries.” The article focused on the fact that the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA) does not publicly release the salary information of the private-sector employees of the private company that it contracts out its staff services with.
But the article misses the point.
CSCDA reports all fees paid to all private contractors to the California state controller’s office on an annual basis. Anyone wanting information on CSCDA fees paid to its contractors can find it via the controller’s office or on the authority’s website. Disclosing fees paid to the contractors is what matters most to the taxpayers, and they have a right to know what costs are being paid.
However, we know of no other private-sector company that is forced to disclose salary information of its private employees, simply because the firm does business with the state or a local government.
The state controller does not post salary information for all of the employees that work for private accounting or IT firms that it contracts with. The California state treasurer’s office does not disclose salaries of all the private-sector accountants, lawyers, financial advisors and underwriters it works with. The California Department of Transportation does not provide salary information for every private sector construction worker that may have worked on a public road project. But they all report the fees paid for those services, just as CSCDA does.
CSCDA is a joint-powers authority (JPA) sponsored by the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities. CSCDA is overseen by a board of current and retired local officials and provides local governments and private entities access to low-cost, tax-exempt financing for projects that provide a tangible public benefit, contribute to social and economic growth, and improve the overall quality of life in local communities throughout California.
CSCDA provides a competitive, low-cost option for local governments and their private partners to access the tax-exempt bond market.
With its more than 500 local government members, California Communities has built a successful track record of helping local governments finance high-quality public benefit projects, issuing more than $48 billion for the construction, equipping, rehabilitation or modernization of community-approved projects since 1988. They include affordable housing projects, hospital and medical facilities, community youth centers, waste treatment facilities, independent schools and manufacturing facilities.