I weary of weak efforts at . . . muckraking journalism that the otherwise responsible Times seems to have to do. (It's like a bout of journalistic flu.) Taking aim at old hackneyed issues such as the salaries of public employees, particularly those at the top, is such reporting. ("2 Dozen With County, City Have 6-Figure Incomes," Feb. 14).
At a minimum, I would expect the reporter to fully understand the issue of compensation in this day and age. Investigative journalism requires knowing the facts.
Within the pages of The Times' Business section about a year ago was an in-depth look at the salaries and benefits packages of the highest paid CEOs in the private sector in California. There was an elaborate accounting of so-called "golden parachutes," a modern-day elaboration of severance pay, so elaborate that they are often million-dollar packages.
The comparison of public sector CEOs' compensation should include all forms. With the complicated benefits packages that get negotiated in the private sector, which includes stock-option plans, automobiles, golden-parachute provisions and other imaginative assets, the real comparison is that top CEOs very often make 10 times to 20 times more in salaries and benefits than public CEOs, and not the 3 times to 4 times quoted from the Taxpayer's Assn.