Let’s be clear: If taxpayers pay your salary, they have a right to know what you make. That’s one of the realities people who work in the public sector need to accept when they enter the field.
That said, does a newspaper serve the public good when it publishes the salaries of all public employees? We don’t think so. It’s one thing to remind the public that it has the right to ask for it, but to casually throw the information in front of an otherwise indifferent public only feeds our baser tendencies to gossip, grouse and grumble.
The irony is that people who are quick to criticize the “exorbitant” salaries of public workers often are the same ones who bemoan that fact that we don’t have enough “good-paying jobs” to keep the best and brightest in our communities. True, having good-paying jobs in the private sector is the ideal, but that doesn’t mean paying competitive wages in the public sector is necessarily a waste of taxpayer money. Competitive wages keep excellent, qualified workers toiling on our behalf instead of leaving for greener pastures.
If you need to know what a public employee makes, you have the right to find out. Newspapers aren’t doing anyone a favor when they publish it for all the world to see. -DR