Saturday, May 5, 2012

Our Salaries ... Exposed!

Here's a link to a local Washington, D.C. TV news outfit, hyping a broadcast about their database of public workers' salaries.

Wow, this must be quite a scoop: "Watch WUSA9.com and our broadcast tonight at 11:00 for an exclusive report where we'll give you White House reaction and agency explanations.

We'll also show who gave out the largest average bonus, and who paid the largest average salary."

This gotcha game and fake journalism is disturbing: Implied, of course, is the spoiled government workers are making out like bandits. As a teacher of two years I'm already quite used to this type of "reporting" ... I constantly hear TV pundits bemoaning our huge salaries and cushy union jobs*.

The Charlotte Observer has a database of CMS school employee salaries online, though the reasons appear far less sensational. Observer Education Reporter Ann Helms wrote to me:

"A full public payroll lets reporters and taxpayers truth-squad what officials say about everything from layoffs (are higher-paid employees being targeted?) to conflicts of interest (if relatives of public officials are on the payroll, someone is going to notice)."

Helms does a great job of reporting on our area schools, but if you want to get a glimpse of what the public thinks, the comments from her blog post on this topic are extremely telling (and entertaining).

Personally, I have no issues with the sharing of my salary. Just ask me and I'll tell you that I make 30K and change for the chance to work my butt off.

It's the "Us Vs. Them" mentality, furthered by agenda-driven talking heads, media outfits, and misinformed politicians, that is ultimately harmful for everybody.

*Those of you who read me regularly caught the sarcasm here: Unions are illegal in my state, and our (comparatively low) pay has been frozen for years.

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