PUBLIC INFORMATION -- A large public-sector union sued the University of California last week seeking public records showing how the university spends its money, reports the Sacramento Business Journal.

It alleges the university hasn’t fully complied with an October 2008
public records request, despite communication back and forth between
the union and the 10 university campuses, five medical centers and
university Office of the President.

UC spokeswoman Leslie Sepuka from the Office of the President said
the university has not been formally served with the complaint.

“We believe we responded appropriately to the (Public Records Act)
request, but will address this issue once we have been served,” she
said in an e-mail.

AFSCME union represents about 21,000 UC employees statewide, including more than 3,700 at UC Davis.

The union is seeking records associated with purchase orders, vendor
payments and requisitions at each campus or medical center. Some
information has been provided, but a number of campuses said they would
not release the information until the union paid for staff time to pull
it or “extraction” of the requested data, court documents allege.

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“Producing financial records detailing the expenditures of the
public’s money should be a routine operation of business, yet the
University of California officials claimed for months on end that there
were no such records readily available or that accessing the records
would be a monumental task and cost upwards of $7,000 to $8,000,”
AFSCME president Lakesha Harrison said in a press release.

“We’re concerned that at the same time UC is moving to severely cut
workers’ pay, either the university doesn’t have established internal
controls or business practices to monitor expenditures or UC officials
are purposefully thwarting the Public Records Act to hide something,”
Harrison said.

Meanwhile, Sacramento Local 1000 of the other major public employee labor group, Service Employees International Union, is sponsoring a bill that has cleared its house of origin and is due to be heard tomorrow in the Senate Committee on Governmental Organization, that would require most state agencies to provide a link to a centrally located and publicly accessible website that would post, in a searchable database, the following information about the agency's personal services and consulting contracts (most recent amendments in italics):

    (1) The name and identification number of each contractor, as well as whether the contractor is a for profit, nonprofit, small business, micro-business, disabled veteran, or nonprofit veteran's service agency.
    (2) The statutory basis for the authorization of each contract, including, if relevant, any applicable condition permitting personal services contracts provided by Section 19130 of the Government Code.
    (3) The duration of each contract.
    (4) The number of amendments to each contract and the number of renewals of each contract, where applicable.
    (5) Reason why low bid was not accepted.
    (6) Reason for noncompetitive bidding.
    (7) The total amount of the contract price over the duration of the contract, including all known amendments to the contract, the total amount paid by the state agency during the most recently completed fiscal year, and the number, cost, bill rate, and staffing levels associated with each type of contract employee retained during the most recently completed fiscal year.  In time and material contracts, staffing levels shall also be described or accounted for in personnel years or full-time equivalent terms. In deliverables based contracts, average staffing levels and bill rates shall be available and reportable 90 days after the completion of the contract or after one year, whichever occurs first.