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Irony, Salaries, and Privacy

Thursday, June 21, 2007 0 comments

The irony continues as I discuss topics and they become center stage in the news. I have been conducting an investigation to find out how much the first gentleman's staff gets paid. Most people are unaware that he has three staff members that are paid by taxpayers. I called his office to verify this information and they confirmed. Ironically, the Lansing State Journal made my job a lot easier. They created a data base that gives the salary, title and date of hire of 53,000 state employees (link). You can search by name. This is all legal under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. This was started in 1977. This data base was shut down most of the day due to high volume, probably state employees checking their information on their 15 minute breaks or lunch hour (so they claim). This resulted in a furry of anger from state employees. Let me remind you that anyone can get this information, the LSJ just made it much easier. State employees flooded the comment board with complaints (23 pages last I checked). Many cancled their subscription. After reading many comments, I was appalled by the reaction of the state employees. They demanded salary information from LSJ employees. Two of them openly gave their information: Derek Melot the assistant editorial page editor makes $60,194 and John Schneider a newspaper columnist makes $76,544. As the state employees cried invasion of privacy and threatened cancelations they posted home addresses of the reporter and editor. This is going too far. I understand their frustration, they do receive a lot of scrutiny and blame. However, they should. Taxpayers have the right to see how their money is being spent. Yet this data base is only going to help a few sincere people like myself who are trying to better the government. I think it will mostly be used by people who know state employees and are shallow enough to search their salaries. So my advice to all state employees that feel a personal attack has been made against them is to get over it. You chose to work for the government and be a public servant. Most state employees don't have a problem ridiculing legislators, but don't realize they are in the same line of work. For the most part state employees have a sweet deal, enjoy it. The unions and democrats are behind you 100%.

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