Consumer Group Calls for Opening Up of "California Performance Review" Process
Santa Monica, CA -- Governor Schwarzenegger's California Performance Review, or CPR, secretly developed a reportedly 2,500 plus page report recommending radical changes to California government. According to information received by the Foundation for Taxpayer Consumer Rights (FTCR), the governor required participants in the CPR to sign confidentiality agreements that barred them from talking about the proceedings or aspects of the ongoing review. The California Performance Review was formed by executive order S-5-04 in February.
FTCR is issuing a public records act request to the Governor, the California Performance Review executive directors and each of the governor's cabinet secretaries to learn more about the operations of the CPR, its costs and the process of developing its as yet undisclosed report. The governor has not even released a list of the 275 members of the CPR, who are funded with taxpayer money that was originally allocated for other purposes than the CPR.
"The governor promised that he would make California government more transparent and more accessible to the public. Now he has called for the biggest reorganization and dissolution of government in California history, developed behind closed doors and with gag orders on the participants whose salaries are paid by taxpayers," said FTCR's executive director Douglas Heller.
The California Performance Review reportedly included state employees and private consultants. FTCR, in its Public Records Act request, is seeking information regarding the membership of the CPR, expenditures of the CPR, contracts with private firms or individuals, and confidentiality agreements signed by CPR participants. The group is also asking for meeting minutes, notes, correspondence and draft documents pertaining to the CPR.
"The public has a right to know how much taxpayers have spent on this project, who participated and how they arrived at their conclusions," said Heller.
Copy of FTCR's Public Records Request Act letter below:
July 30, 2004
The Honorable Arnold Schwarzengger
Governor, State of California
Sacramento, CA 95814
Sent Via Facsimile And U.S. Mail
Re: Public Records Act Request concerning the California Performance Review
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger :
Pursuant to California Government Code Ã‚Â§ 6253(b) of the Public Records Act, The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) hereby requests copies of any public records as follows:
(1) A list of all participants in the California Performance Review, including public employees and private citizens participating under contract with the state;
(2) A list of state employees employed by your department or office who have participated in the California Performance Review;
(3) A copy of any agreement or contract signed by any participant in the California Performance Review, including but not limited to any confidentiality agreements signed by participants in the California Performance Review. This shall include both the form secrecy agreement presented to participants and the individual secrecy agreement signed by each participant;
(4) Documentation of all state expenditures by or on behalf of the California Performance Review, including but not limited to staff salary and contractual obligations with private consultants, since its inception on February 10, 2004 pursuant to Executive Order S-5-04;
(5) Minutes, notes and a list of members and attendees for each meeting, either formal or informal, of the California Performance Review, its members or any portion of its members;
(6) All final and draft documents produced by the California Performance Review;
(7) All correspondence between California Performance Review Co-Executive Director Chon Guitierez, or anyone acting on his behalf, and other state agencies, including but not limited to communications concerning the services of state employees or other state officials;
(8) All correspondence between California Performance Review Co-Executive Director Billy Hamilton, or anyone acting on his behalf, and other state agencies, including but not limited to communications concerning the services of state employees or other state officials;
(9) The identification of any state boards, commissions and departments with documents responsive to this request.
Any public records withheld from production for inspection should be separately identified and should be accompanied by the claimed justification for withholding as provided by Gov. Code Ã‚Â§ 6255, stating the nature of the document withheld, the specific exemption under which the document is being withheld, and the public interest served by withholding said document. We reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any materials.
Should you contend that a portion of a particular document is exempt from disclosure due to confidentiality, we also request pursuant to Gov. Code Ã‚Â§ 6253(a) that the exempt portion be redacted and the remaining portion be produced for our inspection.
FTCR is prepared to pay reasonable search and duplication fees in connection with this request. However, agencies have discretion to waive fees in order to provide greater access to public records pursuant to Gov. Code Ã‚Â§ 6253(e). (See North County Parents Organization for Children with Special Needs v. California Dept. of Educ. (1994) 28 Cal.Rptr.2d 359, 361.) As the information which is the subject of this request is of primary benefit to the public to inform how taxpayer dollars are being spent, we ask that you waive all search and duplication fees.
Consistent with Ã‚Â§ 6253(c), we expect to hear from you within ten days. If you have any questions concerning the scope of our Public Records Act request, please contact the undersigned at (310) 392-0522 ext. 309.