09/27/09 121 W - + 18 - 9 Interesting News Story

Dave Statter is reporting on a Pennsylvania fire department that's feeling the heat on sick leave and overtime. The local paper's done some investigative reporting, and even published a database of personnel information, including name, salary, selected sick leave usage, and overtime amounts. And that's the interesting aspect, here. Sure, attention has been increasingly turned toward spending and overspending, these days. And many an official or employee has been cited in papers. But naming every member and their details therein? That seems like something new. Did the newspaper go too far? It's public information about public employees, so it passes that smell test. And maybe it's a sign of where public accountability is headed. What do readers think?

WRAL did it with the City of Raleigh and Public Schools employees a few years ago. I think they still have the database on their web site, with the names removed. They only removed the names after the backlash. Yes, it’s public information, but it seemed to many people WRAL only did it for the shock/embarrassment value of being able to publicly name people and their salaries. People, who up to that point, were just making a living and enjoying relative anonymity.
rfburns - 09/27/09 - 22:49

Each year, the Rhino Times in Charlotte publishes the name and salary of each city employee that makes over $60,000. It’s public record. I think publishing how much sick time you’ve used is a little excessive.

Something else done by the Charlotte Observer, was to publish the name of each employee of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that got laid off this year due to budget cuts. Anything to create drama and gain a few readers.
Rides An Engine - 09/28/09 - 00:38

right now on the news and observer’s website you can look up the name, title and salary of every state employee. You can also find employees of the university system, and the towns of Knightdale, Zebulon and Wendell.

Yes WRAL did publish the names and salaries of all of the City of Raleigh, Town of Cary and I think Wake County employees a number of years ago. It is public record, and you can obtain it by calling city/town hall, they have to give it to you.

I do agree though on going a bit too far with the use of sick leave, etc. To me couldn’t that almost fall under HIPPA or something?
CFP 7021 - 09/28/09 - 14:08

I have been a government employee for most of my career. I have always understood that my salary and such is public record. I know that there are some things that are not public record, and rightly so. But IMHO, anything directly related to the ‘cost’ of a public employee to the taxpayer is public record. To me that would include my salary, how much OT I made, and what it costs to employ me, including sick leave I take, since someone has to work in my place. I know other folks don’t feel the same, but that’s OK.

But I also think that we, as taxpayers, deserve to know where our money goes when it applies to contracts and stuff. I want to know how much of my money is actually going to goods and services.

I guess I am really concerned on how the stewards of my money actually spend it, although it is very disheartening at times.

HIPPA only applies to medical records. But here’s a twist. EMS’ records on patient encounters are subject to HIPPA, but RW911’s tapes are not.
DJ (Email) (Web Site) - 09/28/09 - 19:35

HIPPA applies to medical records by medical providers, no? The ECC is not a provider, unless, I guess, you count the self-care that they direct via EMT-D.
Legeros - 09/28/09 - 19:38

I believe just because something is legal, or available, does not make it right for an entity to capitalize on the backs of public servants. I realize my job is public record-still pretty crass of some paper or tv station to publish my info for the world to see. I firmly believe they would come unglued if same was done to them. I rank those that do so right down there with the Enquirer!!
Goose - 09/28/09 - 23:32

Another note-I agree with wanting to know how my tax money is spent. Far more is being wasted and mismanaged in programs and contracts and services than on our salaries as worker bees. That is on the local, county, state, and especially federal level!!!
Goose - 09/28/09 - 23:34

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