Government transparency

My position is that all information not explicitly protected by data privacy laws belongs to the public and members of the public should be able to find out what they want to know about city operations.  I’ve been asked relatively frequently about city employee salaries – what does the city administrator or the public safety director make?  Seems to me this should be readily available.

Governing’s Disclosing Public Employee Pay Troubles Some Officials sounded like other people in government did not share my view.  Actually, the article reports the results of a survey and it turns out most officials think disclosure is good, but are concerned about linking names with numbers.  Fair enough, although in practice disclosing the city administrator’s salary or any department head does not require a name because the number is easily connected with the person through other means.

I’ve noted Ft Collins before where you can find out what everyone makes down to the most part time and seasonal employees.  Governing also noted TransparentNH in New Hampshire.  Shouldn’t be too hard to manage a spreadsheet updated annually in Northfield or even better access on the new city website.

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