Taking up where the Bernalillo County Commission left off with its recent transparency website initiative, the Rio Grande Foundation has made Bernalillo County payroll information available online (click here).
To publicize this information, the Foundation has called a press conference at Civic Plaza at which Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing will speak along with Commissioner Wayne Johnson, a transparency leader in Bernalillo County government, and Sarah Welsh of the Foundation for Open Government. The press conference will take place at 10am on Wednesday, May 25th.
Said Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing of his organization’s role in releasing the data, “Taxpayers are the ultimate ‘bosses’ of government workers and should have access to this data. We applaud the Bernalillo County Commission for recently taking steps to place a variety of important information about how Bernalillo County is spending taxpayers’ money online, the Commission refused to make payroll information available on the site.”
Under New Mexico law, employee salary data is already public information, available on request from the County or other local government. The Rio Grande Foundation has previously requested such information from school districts around the state and made the information readily-available to the public at: www.newmexicospending.com.
Responding to the most likely critique of having this information online, Gessing said, “Having salary information online is not a privacy threat. After more than two years of having such information available for school districts statewide, we have not heard any specific complaints.”
“We at the Rio Grande Foundation believe strongly that transparency and openness are keys to achieving a more limited, fiscally-responsible government. Understanding who is hired to do what and how much they are being paid is information that must be available and accessible to the public” said Gessing.