Under state Senate bill, voters would not have a right to know what their employees are up to

The reason we have elections is so the citizens can periodically evaluate the jobs being carried out those they previously elected to office. Are they spending tax money wisely? Are they padding the payrolls with friends and cronies? Are they letting public workers run roughshod?

In order for the voters to make that determination they must be able see what is going on. That’s the reason for public records and open meetings laws that let the sun shine in on the truth.

Truth? You can’t handle the truth.

Senate Bill 384, sponsored by Sparks Democratic state Sen. Julia Ratti, would slam the door closed on records kept by public employers about public employees. All you would get to see is name, rank and serial number.

SB384 flatly states: “The name, public employer, position and amount of annual salary and benefits of an employee of a public employer is a public record. All other information about an employee of a public employer which is contained in a record or file in the possession, control or custody of a public employer is confidential …”

It goes on to limit information about public retirees in substantially the same manner.

Conceivably, under this wording the fact that an employee was paid more in overtime and other perks than in salary would be a secret.

If a commendation were handed to a public employee that could be a secret. Same for a reprimand.

Since the police agencies maintain files on their officers, it might even be construed that the department could not reveal whether an officer was involving in a shooting, whether it is his or her first time or 15th.

Leave the public records law alone.

 

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26 comments on “Under state Senate bill, voters would not have a right to know what their employees are up to

  1. deleted says:

    A knee jerk response to the intrusive burdensome irrelevant inquiries made by groups interested only in embarrassing public employees and their employer.

    Blame them.

  2. embarrassing? always the ideologue.

  3. Rincon says:

    Seems to me that overtime pay is either part of salary or a benefit, so I don’t think that should be an issue.

    There have to be some limits as to what information is publicly available about government – and private – employees. Having no limits can open a real can of worms. If a reprimand or major embarrassment becomes public and can then be proven by the employee to have been in error, then said employee could easily claim to have suffered damage, especially if that employee experiences difficulties obtaining another job, and rightfully be able to sue his/her employer. Is that good policy? Another example would be if the employee is accused of stealing without proof and the investigation into the accusation becomes public knowledge, then again, harm has been done.

  4. deleted says:

    Ideologue? No.

    But those groups that have tried, continuously, and at great expense to the taxpayer, fought to get this information definitely fall within the definition.

    My answer is that, the political persuasion of the public employee is irrelevant for this purpose. I am just as in favor of the government keeping the information private for republicans and libertarians for that matter, as anyone belonging to any other political persuasion.

    Although, it seems to me, that anyone working for the state, that believes the public is entitled to the information, should certainly be able to disclose their own; makes me believe that any libertarians and republicans who share this belief, don’t act in a way consistent with how they’d like to force others to act.

  5. Steve says:

    “uncompromising and dogmatic”

    Yup, that’s Patrick. To a “T”

  6. deleted says:

    Thomas it’s nothing to do with trust.

    It’s about partisanship and how best to use the information to attack the things they are against most; government as a whole, and taxes especially. And as a nice added bonus, anything that is unionized.

    It’s not as if the cost of government is unknown; it’s in the budget every year. And it’s not as if the absolute numbers of government employees aren’t known, because that’s also part of the public record, and it’s also known that the many employees are members of the public union.

    This further intrusion though is just intended to embarrass and destroy as much as they can, and it ought to be stopped.

  7. Steve says:

    Boiled down to brass tacks, Patrick says voters have no need or right to know if a public employee is abusing the system to the detriment of their fellow employees while contributing to the ever increasing costs of labor.

  8. Wasteful spending in nonpartisan. Transparency as to how your money is being spent is not intrusion. It is supervision.

  9. Steve says:

    Voters are defacto supervisors of all public employees.

    Blinding voters is the same as blinding a CEO.

  10. bc says:

    Years ago I had an administrative position at one of the rural school districts. When I was hired there was a note in the paper saying that I was hired, where I was from and what my salary was going to be. As a public employee, my salary along with all my co workers salary’s was public knowledge, as it should be.

    Personnel actions such as discipline are private, the employee has the right to privacy if he or she has done something that can result in a punishment.

  11. Why? Shouldn’t the taxpayers have a right to judge whether the punishment or commendation are appropriate or show favoritism or maltreatment?

  12. Steve says:

    “Personnel actions such as discipline are private”
    Certainly.

    Abusing the system isn’t a “Personnel action” such as under-performance or negligence. Abuse of the system for personal gain should be an actionable, public, offense.

  13. It is not the low level employee that needs to be watched so much. It is the supervisor who needs to be watched. How that supervisor disciplines, or not, is a taxpayer concern.

  14. Rincon says:

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Shouldn’t the same information be available to stockholders in corporations?

  15. No one forces a person to buy stock. We are forced to pay taxes.

  16. deleted says:

    It would be simple to say that since no one forces anyone to get employment, or to purchase anything, that no one is “forced” to pay taxes Thomas.

    I guess my question is, as relates to a government employee, is there any limit at all, in your opinion, where your rights as a taxpayer end, and where their rights as an individual begin?

    I mean, the possibilities of intrusion seem limitless if the response is; I pay taxes and therefore the employee has no rights at all (especially if we impose the same at will standard to their employment that “conservatives” would impose on the rest of the working world. Does the fact that “you” are a taxpayer entitle you to know the health history of the employee? How about the genetic history? How about…well, you get the point.

    My issue is with the groups that are trying to get this information have nothing but I’ll intentions as to how it will be used, and for them, they deserve, and ought to get, the middle finger. In my humble opinion.

  17. Is no one seeking a more responsive and responsible governance?

  18. deleted says:

    Where’s the limit to what taxpayers are entitled to know?

  19. Only information related to the job and its performance and remuneration.

  20. Steve says:

    Remember what the leadership of CCFD was doing….when people start gaming the system in ways that hurt it, other employees and the department, then those people need to be made public.
    CCFD and many of it’s leaders were “getting away with murder” then. If SB384 the law then, no one would ever have known what was going on in CCFD and it would probably be ongoing today.

  21. Rincon says:

    Just as stockholders are not forced to buy stock, neither are we forced to pay taxes. We have four other alternatives: 1) Cheat 2) Invest the Donald Trump way. Structure your portfolio to keep your taxes at zero 3) Simply be sure not to make enough money to be forced to pay taxes. 4) Just as a stockholder can sell his shares, a citizen can relinquish his citizenship by moving out. All of these are just as realistic as telling people that they can just choose not to buy stock.

    I don’t see why a voluntary owner of an enterprise should automatically have fewer rights than an involuntary owner. Are you saying a voluntary owner should have fewer rights to information than an involuntary owner?

    BTW, according to the Economist, middle aged white males in the U.S. are TWICE as likely to die as their Swedish counterparts. The difference lies in deaths from suicides, drugs and alcohol. Although Conservatives feel that Swedes are less happy than we are, this misery index suggests otherwise. At the very least, it shows that we’re doing something wrong that they are doing right.

    The same article says that, “A randomized trial in Oregon found that Medicaid reduces depression rates by a third.” It also says that we spend only one fifth of the OECD average for training workers and a quarter of that average on financial help for the jobless. As I said, we have third world conditions here. (Economist, Deaths of Despair. 3/25/17 p.67)

  22. Steve says:

    Typical, deflection by subject change.

    Very weak argument, Rincon.
    One does not have to buy stock to remain a citizen of the country in which one is born.

    Moreover, companies are not required to go public and sell stock.

    Governments, the world over, force people to pay, in many cases at gunpoint.
    Here, it will soon be by private collection agency.

    No one can force you to invest in stock but government insists you “invest” in government. And without even so much as an offer of a return on investment!

    Love your deluded attempt to change the subject, Rincon.

  23. Rincon says:

    Deflection? Whatever.

    I never said anyone had to leave the country. That was only one of four choices. Since there are four other choices, then paying taxes is, by definition, voluntary. Whether something is voluntary or involuntary is irrelevant. If it is good for society to know all about employees, then why does that change because the employee works for a different boss?

    While you’re at it, you should consider making all employee background checks public and perhaps body cavity searches as well. It amazes me how you’re all about protecting the rights of individuals until they begin working for an employer that you don’t like.

  24. Rincon says:

    Ah, I forgot to reply in kind. In answer to your characterization of my post as deluded, your mother wears dirty socks!

  25. Steve says:

    “working for an employer that you don’t like.”

    You just hate the Koch bros.

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