Image via WikipediaThe public's interest in viewing county employees' pension documents outweighs the retirees' interest in keeping their personal financial information private, California's Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, has ruled in San Diego County Employees Retirement Association v. Superior Court of San Diego County; California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility (Case No. D058962).
In upholding the trial court's ruling earlier this year (see "TUOL" post 3/15/11), the appellate court found public worker pension benefits tied to salary, which is public, rather than private assets, in siding with a watchdog group whom the court said had a legitimate right to inspect a government group's activities. In its opinion, the court said: "The disclosure of pension information provides information about the government's management of public [funds], in which the public has a legitimate interest. Pension benefits are not excessively related to personal financial decisions of former employees."
The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility sought data on retirees receiving monthly pension benefits of more than $8,333.