Within a week after The North Country Gazette published an article about William S. Hochman, an alleged county commissioner handling child support cases in Marin County, and the county's refusal to provide public information about Hochman's position, county leaders dumped their secret pay policy and unanimously voted that the public has a right to know.
Earlier this month, NCG
had revealed that the Marin County Board of Supervisors
had refused to respond to a public records request relating to Hochman
, who they referred to as a ‘pro tem commissioner".
According to the Marin County Bar Association
and the title he
a commissioner with the Marin County Superior Court
, rendering decisions in the Department of Child Support Services and in essence, involved in administering a $90.2 million contract between the Department of Child Support Services and the Judicial Council of California
But according to the website for the Marin County Superior Court
, Hochman's not a commissioner.
The "program" which Hochman
presumably oversees reportedly nets Marin County about $654,000 a year for his
services although his
salary is allegedly in the neighborhood of $150,000 with retirement contributions reportedly about $90,000.
But the NCG
was unable to obtain a job description of Hochman's
designated duties, his
salary or a copy of his
oath of office, required by law to be taken and filed by Hochman
can perform the duties of the appointed office.When a California resident attempted to utilize a subpoena to obtain the public information concerning the administration of the state and federal monies and information concerning Hochman
's appointment and compensation, Hochman himself quashed it.
The NCG article, "Child Support Rulings Could Be In Jeopardy Due To Oath Issue" noted that Marin County officials had been reluctant to comply with the state's laws concerning public records about Hochman
Maybe it was the fact that Sunshine Week was being observed throughout the nation, opening the doors to government and the public's right to know how governmental business is being conducted and how public officers are performing, the NCG article or a combination of both but the supervisors decided it was time to open their doors and stop hiding public records, in particular the salaries of public officers such as Hochman
Neither Marin County nor state officials can or will produce either an oath of office or a bond for Hochman
, both required.Without an oath and bond being subscribed to and filed in the county clerk's office, Hochman
can't legally perform judicial duties and can't legally be paid by county tax dollars.
With the Marin County Board of Supervisors
letting the sun shine in, public records requests for information concerning Hochman's salary and contract have already been filed.3-28-06