Every other December, a postelection ritual plays out at city, school and special district board meetings: Saying goodbye to outgoing colleagues.
Some are retiring and leaving on their own terms. Voters gave others the heave ho on Election Day.
Either way, the departing folks typically fall into one of two camps: The revered will bask in wine-warmed praise at dinners held in their honor while those who never learned to play well with others will go home with a certificate of appreciation encased in a cheap plastic frame.
Here's a sample of Contra Costa's retreating class:
Chevron remains No. 1., having paid $71.6 million or 3.64 percent of the total $1.9 billion in property taxes collected countywide. The oil giant's bill is twice what it was last fiscal year after it lost a big property tax appeal.
PG&E, Shell Oil, Tosco and Tesoro are still Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5, respectively.
But the real estate slump -- or is it the federal investigation into its mortgage practices? -- knocked the Seeno family's development and construction companies from No. 6 to No. 8.
Rounding out the Top 10 list are AT&T, homebuilder Shapell Industries and First Walnut Creek Mutual, which bumped Pittsburg power plant Mirant Delta for the No. 10 slot.
See pie charts and other cool data from Treasurer Russell Watt's office at PoliticswithLisaV.blogspot.com.
PAY TELL: Want to know the average public employee's wage in Contra Costa County? ($51,632 in 2010.) The highest paid in Alameda County? (County administrator earned $423,191 in 2010.)
California Controller John Chiang has upgraded www.publicpay.ca.gov with lots of spiffy maps, charts and comparisons for the wages and benefits of 1.5 million positions at state, county, city, school and special district levels.
The site has tutorials to help guide folks through the features or data geeks can download the numbers themselves.
Unfortunately, the most recent county and city figures are from 2010. And Chiang still lists only job titles and not employees' names.
FYI, the Bay Area News Group's public employee salary database goes through 2011 and it names names: www.mercurynews.com/salaries.
GOT POLITICS: Read Politics With LisaV at PoliticsWithLisaV.blogspot.com.
AND FINALLY: The Contra Costa Taxpayers Association is getting an early Christmas gift. Per the group's request, the Contra Costa County Employees Retirement Association has agreed to discuss at its Dec. 12 meeting whether to post audio or video recordings of its meetings online.
Seriously? They don't do this already?
Nope. The association issues old-school written minutes with the actions taken.
Granted, agendas, minutes and numerous other documents are available online although its outdated website -- www.cccera.org -- is clunky and doesn't work with every browser (Google Chrome is a no, but Explorer works).
Increasingly, Bay Area residents are rightfully demanding their public agencies Web stream governing board meetings and provide online searchable and downloadable agendas, minutes and supporting documents.
While YouTube traffic for retirement board meetings will never rival that of a Justin Bieber sighting, CCCERA manages a $5.1 billion pension system for 17 public agencies and has 8,629 working members plus another 8,085 people collecting retirement benefit checks.
After the webcast is operational, the association should start working on a mobile telephone application. Seriously.