LSJ Publishes State Employee Salaries

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Smack dab on the front page of the Lansing State Journal Thursday was a note. "Salary information of state employees now available online," it read.

Many jumped right to their computers. Others jumped right on their phone.

"I have already canceled my subscription to the Lansing State Journal, and I'm aware of others doing that, too," says state employee Jane Church.

The Journal has now made it possible to search for and see the salaries of any and all of the 53,000 state employees, which is public information. The paper got the information by filing Freedom of Information Acts.

But Church is livid, saying the Web site implies she's getting overpaid.

"I'm working harder right now than I ever have before," she says, referencing the added workload she's taking because the state isn't filling open positions. "I can't imagine what [reporter] Chris Andrews or the editor was thinking when they did this. This was very poor judgment."

But LSJ executive editor Mickey Hirten is standing by his paper's decision.

"What this does is, it opens up or it democratizes information that before was held by special interests."

But that's not enough for the state employees union, UAW Local 6000. In a recorded message, they're urging employees to call the paper and protest the Web site. They say it's an invasion of privacy, though by law, it's not.

Whether people support or condemn the Web site, Hirten says his paper has no plans to take it down.

"We're comfortable with our decision. We realize it's made people unhappy, and we're sorry for that."

It's a volatile time in our state government, he says, and people have the right to know what their public servants are making.

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  • by Guy Location: Cedar Springs on Jul 10, 2007 at 12:02 PM
    In fairness let's see the LSJ employees salaries. Let's see what the delivery people make in contrast to the owners.
  • by shelley Location: lansing on Jun 28, 2007 at 02:32 PM
    Putting names on the list was absolutely wrong. The LSJ editor is a loser. Why don't they put their names, titles and wages up for public view. Also, lets put up ALL WELFARE recipients names and amounts received. They take more of the state money than employees do. At least the employees are working for their money unlike the neighbor I had that received welfare. She couldn't keep a job because she was always drunk, but she and her delinquent kids had cell phones. How about we learn what they receive and put stricter limits on being accepted and how long they can receive welfare.
  • by Marta Location: Hastings on Jun 26, 2007 at 11:10 AM
    Although I feel that the public may have a right to know how and where their tax dollars are spent, I have a serious problem with the release of people's names along with the information. If the database simply said something like "state worker at XYZ location with 5 years experience earns $xxx" it would not have opened up the identities of state employees to fraud and identity theft.
  • by Lisa Location: Michigan State University on Jun 26, 2007 at 05:59 AM
    I believe it would be great if you could do the same for Michigan State University. They have been eliminating the support staff positions, increasing work loads due to "budget cuts." But, they have been creating & filling administration & higher positions. Example: Extension office staff around the state has been cut. The Dean of the college of Agriculture now has 5 assistant deans, a chief of staff to manage them and.... chairs and assistant chairs for each department. People really don't know what happens on the MSU campus. I have worked on this campus for 23 years.
  • by Pat Location: East Lansing on Jun 25, 2007 at 12:46 PM
    Its been my observation that Michigan does not have an original thought in its head but imitates other states - so this has been does elsewhere and is considered the status quo. 501cs and other federal governmental agencies have had their information posted for years. And yes, my income information and location has been posted and accessible on the internet for years. Its amazing how no one else is concerned about this (breach of privacy) until it hits (their) home....
  • by PEGGY Location: TUS CO DHS on Jun 25, 2007 at 10:53 AM
  • by Reb Location: Lansing on Jun 24, 2007 at 09:08 AM
    I for one will buy a subscription to LSJ only if they remove the addresses and names. It is not needed and has no relevance to the spending. The title, locations, etc.., have a direct relevance and should stay posted but also with even more info. This one story has informed me of how grossly some of our workers are being compensated. Also IS part of why we are always having budget problems, teacher layoffs, school closures. I am one person who would not mind seeing some positions either cut completely or implement pay cuts so that we can have better education for our children. Spending accounts...what a joke! Shh dont tell anyone( I work for the state)
  • by Florence Location: Eaton Rapids on Jun 23, 2007 at 08:00 AM
    It isn't the posting of our wages it is the posting of our names, departments, location and hiring date. Why is that any ones business. Those that put us state employees down, need to remember we are the ones that carried the full load of the last budget overage, all on our backs. This time we are saying the whole state needs to take it on, not fair we are tax payers and residents of this state too. You take days off with no pay, on top of working 80 and getting paid for 76, hurt us as it would any of you. We have some sick people in this world and putting our names out there opens us up to them and hackers getting into our information. If they are trying to break us it won't happen, if they are after someone to blame for the budget and state problems they need to go the the ones that are elected and over spent the budget, we don't have control of that. Heck we wouldn't have voted ourselves a 38% raise, we just would like on that goes with the cost of living instead of going back. I just hope that the citizens in the state of Michigan will back us, because it just isn't out there for the state of Michigan citizens to see, our information is out there for the WORLD now. Every person needs to think about how they would feel about all their information being out there for the world to tap into. Just a name they can get your address and have the net map someone right to your house. Think about what the thoughtless, newsless State Journal has done. Ya know I have an idea, they could report on the GOOD things our service people are doing in Iraq, wouldn't that be great and show our service people that we are here supporting them HUMMMMMMM
  • by Wendy Location: Jackson on Jun 23, 2007 at 05:06 AM
    It is not an invasion of your privacy, when you can file for the Freedom of Information Act to obtain that information that is public knowledge.To all the State employees if you are working hard at your job you shouldn't have anything to worry about.Just look at Jackson we have drug users and corruption who are State payed employees.
  • by Terry Location: Lansing on Jun 23, 2007 at 03:12 AM
    Freedom of Information is a given for public service. The information has always been available to the public. Generally for any purpose, the position title and salary are necessary. The posting of the name paired with the title is really not necessary unless there is a reason. Apparently there is a reason the LSJ decided to move to this newer step, and I suppose over time, the TRUE reason will surface. It might be noted that "Pay for Performance" provided to management was not included. Be interersting to see how much the state paid out for this in addition to salary. Personally, I see state employee's a valued resource most often over looked. Most have experienced lss than the cost of living wage increases, pay cuts and with early outs plus more work. Seems like when the economy was good, state employee's were not thought about or some of the sacrafices would have been made up. Wonder why?
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