It’s a hot night in June 2013. You are sleeping peacefully. You are wearing PJs, a granny gown, or maybe just your birthday suit. Whatever is most comfortable. Only a thin sheet covers you. (Gasp, this is starting to sound like “50 Shades of Something”) when…
Along comes someone who flicks on the lights, rips the sheet off you so the world can see what you’ve got. Or not.
Suddenly, one of your most closely held secrets, your most private-of-privates — your annual salary — is out there for all the world to Google and then goggle: With a few key strokes anybody can find out your grade, salary and bonuses if any. If, of course, you work for the federal government. It is public information, but it’s rather personal to the people under the spotlight.
Your reaction: Surprise, anger, resignation?
Monday’s column about the latest federal-salary information dump got lots of comments. Both directly to me and those posted in the comments section next to the column. Good reading. Check them out when you can.
A few people think that federal salaries are fair game and should be an open book. Others feel it’s an invasion of privacy. Some say they think the media should bare its salary schedules too. Here’s what some people are saying:
“Now that the hot economy has slowed down and although their salaries have been frozen for years and performance bonuses have been curtailed for most — because there are a few bad eggs making poor decisions or executives making big bonuses in the federal government — those in the private sector and those on Capitol Hill are quick to get salary dumps! Bonus dumps! Why stop there! FOIA salaries and benefits dumps for our military — taxpayers pay for it. FOIA retirement dumps for civilian and military — taxpayers pay for part of it. FOIA 401(k) balance dumps for those that the taxpayers pay a match. Next, FOIA Social Security benefit dumps — its shortfall is underwritten by the taxpayers. On the other hand, remember that the people involved in the current dumps are all taxpaying Americans who work 20-30-40-50 years for the taxpayer, and for many of those years were jeered, not cheered, because they were not out there in the private sector making the big bucks with all the private- sector perks. My fellow taxpayers need to be careful, what they ask for they may get — full transparency means everyone.” — Name Withheld by Request
“… Inside the Beltway is ‘LaLa Land’ when compared to the rest of the country which is exactly why folks in the field feel D.C. doesn’t know what we do and the adverse impact (pay and hiring freezes) we face in doing it. The increasing avoidance by those inside the Beltway to address these critical issues sends a clear and chilling message to the field: ‘Do the best you can with what you’ve got because we have no idea when, or if, things will change for the better.'” — Rob/ DOJ
“Count me among the employees in the steamed camp. If an institution publicizes the salaries of rank-and-file federal employees, then that institution should post the salaries of all of its employees on a website and publicize the website. If you’re talking about preventing abuse, then set some floor for disclosure, such as salaries above $250,000 or bonuses above $25,000. Or publish salary ranges in the aggregate. Does the public really have the right to know the exact salary of a GS-14 employee in Peoria? … Why doesn’t (the media) post the salaries of its employees? … Like I said, I’m steamed. OK, I’ve vented. Let the healing begin.” — Jud
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