Talk about a firestorm.
The Houston Chronicle has put a database on its site of more than 80,000 Harris County and City of Houston public-sector employees. But quite a few of those listed aren’t happy about it.
As of 5:30 p.m. today, more than 330 people commented on the posting of the database, with many objecting that the newspaper used their full names and salaries. The Drudge Report even picked up the Houston database and gave it a breathless description: “Newspaper posts database with salary of EVERY city of Houston employee — by name…”
The paper knew its data might be controversial, but noted that it is performing a valuable watchdog role and a public service by consolidating several existing data sources. Still, here’s a few of the comments from the newspaper’s Web site:
Thank you Houston Chronicle. Now, my full name and salary information is readily available to everyone in the entire world. Great work! I have already been the victim of identity theft. Now, you have made me a worldwide target.
Yes, as a lawyer, I believe in free speech. I love the Constitution; however, I am forced to question your motives in making personal information so readily available to the public. This is terribly offensive and irresponsible.
I am certain that murder defendant I am sitting across from in court is giddy to possess this information. Do you even care about public servants? What happens when, God forbid, you have trouble? When someone breaks into your car or home? When someone molests, assaults, or murders your loved one?
7/9/2008 5:19 PM CDT
This reader is a little more understanding:
For all those folks are this list complaining, GET A PRIVATE SECTOR JOB! We as tax paying citizens that pay your salaries and ridiculous OT, have the RIGHT to know to where, what and WHO this money is going to. You have a PUBLIC service job. You don’t want you information posted in PUBLIC, QUIT!!!!
To get started, go to the left side and click on “Search Financial Data by Agency or Function of Government.” Then choose an agency from the drop down menu, click “Go” and then click on the green “Payroll” tab.
For example, to find Gov. Brad Henry, you’d pick “Governor” from the first drop-down menu. Hit “Go” and then click on the “Payroll tab.” The database has only last names and initials, so the Guv is listed as “Henry, C.B.” Turns out he makes $11,666.67 a month.
Written by Paul Monies