California Public Records Act

By Betty T. Yee, California State Controller

Re “California’s high-tech debacle,” Dan Walters, Dec. 19, 2019.

I was surprised your publication repeated Adam Andrzejewski’s erroneous and misleading opinion piece without checking the facts. 

As a strong advocate for transparency, I publish government employee payroll data as well as revenues and expenditures for hundreds of public agencies large and small. My team responds to all Public Record Act requests. When an inquiry is ambiguous, they reach out for clarification.

As Mr. Andrzejewski acknowledged, my team has been communicating with his organization since 2013. If you had asked for our full letter, rather than the portion of our reply that served his narrative, then you would know we did not reject his Public Record Act request. We simply cannot fulfill it without clarification.

Unlike most who request records, Mr. Andrzejewski’s organization so far has been unwilling to work with us, instead repeating their request for a copy of a “checkbook.” 

Your capital-based staff probably know that, in contrast to a business or individual person, the State of California does not maintain a checkbook. Of course, there are records of all state disbursements, though not all in one location, format, or file.

I look forward to the time when all state agencies are participating in a fully implemented Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal), which will centralize cash management, accounting, procurement, and more—making it easier to share vendor data with anyone.

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