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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