Friday, July 31, 2015

Our regular call for balance

The Sacramento Bee has updated its state employee database which includes all UC employees. Usually, when we refer to a news item or data source, we give the link. But we won't do it in this case (although you would have no trouble in finding it on your own). That's because the Bee has yet to heed our call for balance. We regularly ask the Bee to publish its own payroll data (salaries by name of employee) of everyone from the lowest paid to the highest if it insists on doing it for state/UC payrolls. Of course, the Bee has the data on its own payroll so access to the info is not the issue. We (again) note that the Bee could provide the data it does publish on state and UC workers without names (pay by job title) as the state controller does. That approach would protect privacy and help prevent ID theft while giving the public data needed for analysis. Pay for top state/UC executives by name could still be published. (But, of course, balance would require the same for the top execs of the Bee also).

Let's not get bogged down with arguments over whether the Bee has the right to publish what it does. The issue is not a constitutional right. Of course it has the right. It's a matter of judgment. There are many things that the Bee chooses not to publish even though it has the right. That's why newspapers have editors.

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