The Burbank City Council this week approved the payment of $39,218 to reimburse the Burbank Leader for court and outside attorney fees in its fight to obtain records on individual bonus payouts, according to attorneys for the paper.
The action was not reported at the council’s special meeting Thursday evening, and city officials declined to comment on the decision.
Under the California Public Records Act, news organizations are able to collect court costs and reasonable attorney fees after prevailing in court.
In a 4-0 closed-session vote on June 7, with Councilman Gary Bric absent, the City Council voted not to appeal a Los Angeles County Superior Court decision ordering the release of individual bonus amounts for city employees.
City officials had argued against releasing the information, which they said would harm employee morale and violate privacy provisions — a stance Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones rejected as being without merit. She has yet to sign the order submitted by the Leader’s attorneys but has the right to hold it for 10 days, pending any changes.
Once the order is signed, the city will have 10 days to comply with the order if the documents have not already been released.
The individual merit pay amounts for employees are expected to be released early next week.