(Albuquerque) According to recent stories in the press, New Mexico’s largest public employee union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 18, has filed a lawsuit in state District Court attempting to compel the Martinez Administration to remove the names and salary information of the state’s “classified” workers from New Mexico’s “Sunshine Portal”: http://sunshineportalnm.com/
The Rio Grande Foundation strongly favors transparency and openness when taxpayer dollars are at stake and has requested and posted the state payroll – including names and salaries of all state employees – on its website. The data are presented by month, starting with January and going through June of 2012.
“Unfortunately,” as Rio Grande Foundation President Paul Gessing pointed out, “while we are able to post the information ourselves as the state payroll is indeed public information, the biggest issue is that outside of the Sunshine Portal, information is not presented in a clear and concise manner. So, if AFSCME somehow wins their lawsuit, they are in no way preserving their members’ privacy, rather they are just making it more difficult for average citizens to actually understand what the data actually mean”
“The Sunshine Portal is the ideal way to post public records and documents. Efforts should be focused on expanding and improving upon the site, not restricting what information can be made available on it,” concluded Gessing.