Sunday, March 9, 2008

Editorials and Letters About Salary Data Publication

The Sacramento Bee today carries a selection of opinion pieces and letters to the editor about their decision to publish state workers' salaries and other information in a public database.

Jim Hard, president of Local 1000, writes:

The Bee's new searchable database on state employee salaries may be fun for gossipers and helpful to stalkers, but it does very little to advance the policy discussion about public employee salaries.
He refutes the Bee's claim that publishing such detailed information harms no one:

Union representatives have received at least a dozen calls or e-mails from domestic violence victims who fear a perpetrator could track them down by using the database. Their fears are well-founded.

"This woman who had been successfully hiding from her ex-husband called after he found her," said Beth Hassett, executive director of Women Escaping a Violent Environment. "She had switched jobs within the state to fly under the radar and hide from him. He logged into (The Bee's) database, found her agency and then was able to get her phone number and threaten her."

In a Public Editor piece today, the Bee gloats over the web site traffic the database has generated, scoffs at workers' privacy and safety concerns, and says "the likelihood of The Bee taking down the database is nil."

Previously in Unit 9 News:

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