Salary databases show past, don’t predict future paychecks

5 08 2013

I received an email the other day from someone who wanted to let me know the Orem salary database needed updating.

“Please update the City of Orem salary information because it is 2 years old,” the person wrote.  “They are now in Fiscal Year 2014.”

The data up there at this time is for the 2012 fiscal year, which began July 1, 2011 and ended June 30, 2012. I will be posting the 2013 fiscal year data shortly.

But I can’t get to the fiscal year 2014 salary data because, technically, it doesn’t exist yet.

Yes, government agencies have already figured out how much they will spend on each employee’s salary and benefits package for the coming fiscal year. But, that money hasn’t been paid out yet.

I field enough complaints from people who don’t understand that we initially show gross compensation, which is salary plus benefits. Publishing what someone might earn in the coming year is not going to make many people happy.

Let’s say utahsright.com posted that an employee was making $100,000 in salary in the 2014 fiscal year, but the employee got fired two days into the year. While that money was budgeted for him, it’s not what he was paid, which would make that posting erroneous, as well as make this guy upset when he gets people asking about the 100 grand he was supposedly paid.

In the coming weeks, utahsright,com’s salary databases will be updated to show the 2013 data — at least for the agencies that are willing to share that data.

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‘Anonymous’ SUU employees’ identities finally see light of day

22 01 2013

There are now 1,500 additional names in Southern Utah University’s salary database for 2012, thanks to GRAMA.

The database we obtained from the state’s transparency website did not list the names of student employees or even the Cedar City campus’ police force. Because of the anonymity and technical difficulties with the database, we had to list the students in the aggregate.

As a group, these students were paid $4.7 million in salaries and benefits, putting them well above President Michael Benson and other SUU officials.

When I asked why the names were kept under wraps, the university’s controller, Michael Beach, informed me it was because of releasing student names might violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is the law that makes academic records private, but some have seized on it as a cloak to hide documents that are otherwise public.

Recently, Granite School District invoked FERPA in an attempt to deny The Salt Lake Tribune records on its investigation of an alleged “inappropriate relationship” between Cottonwood High’s former head football coach and a student.

Beach also told me that the police officers’ names were redacted for “personal safety.” While the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) allows holding back information on undercover officers, it is inconceivable to think that the entire SUU campus police force, including its chief, are all undercover operatives.

To break through the logjam, I filed a GRAMA request for an unredacted salary database. The university’s initial response was to give me the same database as submitted to the state, with the same reasons for not fully granting the request.

After a GRAMA appeal challenging both withholdings, and noting, with help from the Student Press Law Center, that FERPA does not apply to student wages, we got the full database, which is now online. This gives the public, whose funds support SUU, a better look at how their money is being spent.

— Donald W. Meyers





Gunnison hospital wants to keep doctors’ wages secret

8 01 2013

Gunnison Valley Hospital will comply with the state’s open-records law — to a point.

Hospital representatives told the state Transparency Advisory Board Thursday that the hospital has determined it is subject to the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), and will release financial information, including salaries for most employees. The hospital, founded in the 1940s, was sold to the cities in Sanpete County’s Gunnison Valley.

But Mark Dalley, the hospital’s chief executive, said the hospital’s lawyers advised them that they could withhold the data on the hospital’s doctors. Doing so, Dalley said, would put the hospital at a competitive disadvantage to private hospitals when it comes to hiring doctors.

GRAMA does allow public agencies to protect information that would cause “unfair competitive injury.” But it also states that salary information for public employees is a record that must be released. State law also requires governmental bodies and agencies with budgets exceeding $1 million to post financial data on the state’s transparency website.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, the board’s chairman, said after the meeting that the board can only address policy issues, while the hospital’s plan to hold back physicians’ salaries is a legal question that would have to be resolved in the courts.





Updates to salary databases

18 05 2012

We’ve posted updates for the salary databases for North Davis Preparatory Academy, Legacy Preparatory Academy, Oquirrh Park Recreation District, Green River, Provo and Tremonton. We will be doing further updates in the coming weeks, so check back.





Many new public salaries include other compensation data

26 05 2011

With the continued aim of delivering public information Utahns have a right to know, recent updates to UtahsRight’s Public Salaries database include the addition of several other pay types that go beyond base salary, providing users with more detailed information on how tax dollars are spent in the public sector [ http://bit.ly/fUrXTh ]. School districts from across the state are being updated daily. Recent updates include Granite, Jordan, Canyons, Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Park City schools. Murray School District is coming soon.
The state of Utah was last updated in December 2010 and includes base pay, benefits, paid leave, overtime, incentives, reimbursements and other miscellaneous earnings from the 2010 fiscal year. Users can view a detailed breakdown of pay for each employee by clicking on the employee’s name to view their profile.
Users can determine actual pay by excluding reimbursements, employee benefits, meal allowances, and compensatory/excess time earned.





Charter School Salaries

26 04 2011

UtahsRight.com has added and updated salary data for many charter schools across the state. Users can now search or browse detailed compensation data for faculty and staff members at most charter schools in Utah http://utahsright.com/h_salaries.php Check back daily for the most recent updates. Paradigm High School and Ranches Academy will be added next.





New Salary Data

22 12 2010

The State of Utah salary database has been updated to reflect earnings, benefits and additional compensation for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Use the name search, or browse the entire database by selecting “State of Utah” from the browse-by dropdown menu. http://utahsright.com/salaries.php?city=govsalaries