Jul 9, 2007

Senate heads off the LSJ and publishes salary info of employees without name

The Michigan Senate is apparently not waiting around for a Freedom of Information request from the Lansing State Journal for salary information on Senate employees and has established a web site with that information, according to an unnamed source in the Senate.

Last month the LSJ posted the public information on 53,000 non-exempt public employees that includes name, title, department, county of the workplace and salary, and it caused an outcry from state employees calling it a callous invasion of privacy. The timing, just days after Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop falsely claimed state employees were overpaid and demanded the governor rescind a previously negotiated pay raise, so angered state employees that some are talking about a misguided boycott of the LSJ.

Last week the House Business Office that maintains salary information for all Legislative staff members, as well as partisan central staff, received a FOIA request from the LSJ requesting salary information. The Senate has not yet received a FOIA request, so it decided to take a proactive approach and publish the salary information but omit individual names.

The web site lists salary by job title – and it differs from Senate office to Senate office - and then by where the person works. The web page also states that Senate employees are paid a fair and competitive wage for the work they perform. Unionized state employees gave up $300 million in concessions in the last contract.

However, sources said although the Senate has not officially received a FOIA request, the web site does not prelude them from receiving one, supply salary information with the individual’s name and having the LSJ - or any newspaper or blog - publish the public information.

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