As many as 622 City of Los Angeles employees earn more than Mayor Eric Garcetti’s annual salary of $200,568.58. The North Figueroa Association, which sweeps and picks up trash on the Figueroa Street stretch of Highland Park, received $355,674.32 in financial year 2013, the same period during which Los Angeles spent $147,000 on fireworks and $98,488.75 on clowns.
The numbers are derived from a website that Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin launched Wednesday, with the declaration that he is “throwing the doors open” on the city's finances by making public millions of lines of data on everything from city payroll to revenue and government spending.
called ControlPanelL.A., offers
the public unprecedented “direct and centralized access to a wealth of data,”
“And you can review it, search it, analyze it, download it, share it online anytime,” the city controller added.
Most of the data on ControlPanelLA was previously accessible to a narrow group of city officials, including as it does detailed payroll information for nearly 50,000 city employees, payments to hundreds of outside vendors, and city revenue from various sources such as parking tickets and dog license fees.
The website even offers figures on actual pay by quarter, including a “checkbook” section that shows individual payments to contractors and vendors.
The information can be organized as pie charts or line graphs that allow site users to rank and compare data. According to the website, the city’s number one expenditure for outside vendors in 2013 was on lawsuits and legal settlements, which came to $108.7 million.
The website was developed by Socrata, a government data software company based in Seattle, under a one-year, $84,000 contract, according to Chief Deputy City Controller Claire Bartels.
Galperin said he hopes to continue adding to the website and is working with City Attorney Mike Feuer to get the “legal go-ahead” to release specific information about lawsuits and settlements.
“This data is not our data,” Garcetti said. “It’s the public's data—the more tools we give to people to look at data, to track important measures, the more power they will have to control the direction of their city government.”
— City News Service contributed to this article.