PUBLIC INFORMATION -- The Bay Area News Group, comprising most dailies and many weeklies in the greater San Francisco Bay area, has launched an online database of most state and local public employee salaries and other compensation in the region. Guess what: the biggest pay is mainly in health care management. But even in that category, there's a real standout.

"A public health care district
in southern Alameda County paid its chief executive $876,831 in 2008 —
more than twice as much as any other local government employee in the
East Bay, San Francisco, San Mateo County and San Joaquin County," reports Thomas Peele in the Contra Costa Times.

The pay of Nancy Farber,
CEO of Washington Township health care district, was nearly three times
as much as what Contra Costa County paid the chief of its hospital in
Martinez and four times as much as the top administrator at San
Francisco General Hospital.

Farber's pay more than doubled the
salaries of administrators at government agencies with thousands more
employees and budgets that dwarf that of
the Washington district. The district has an elected board of directors that runs one hospital.

What
appears to be the only comparable salary in the Bay Area is that of the
CEO of the Marin Healthcare District, Lee Domanico, whose contracted
base salary is $498,000 and whose contracts allows for bonuses of as
much as $209,016. The district has not answered a request for the exact
amount of Domanico's 2008 pay.

Farber's pay is but one example of
data culled from the salaries of more than 134,000 local gover
acrosnment workers in the Bay Area through Public Records Act requests.
The disclosures follow a 2007 California Supreme Court ruling stating
that the information is public, a decision in a case brought in 2004 by
the Bay Area News Group's Contra Costa Times.

Salaries
ranging from those of firefighters and janitors to health care
administrators and lawyers in 64 counties, cities and districts is now
posted at ContraCostaTimes.com and InsideBayArea.com.
The salary data will be a growing presence on the Web sites of the Bay
Area News Group. Information on additional government entities will
continue to be added.

The data show wide discrepancies in pay and
sometimes high salaries in government agencies, such as the Port of
Oakland, where a semiskilled laborer grossed $123,450 in 2008, and in
Newark, in southern Alameda County, where more than half of the 215
city employees were each paid more than $100,000 last year and the
average gross pay was $109,027.