Commentary: Bee's Duty to Disclose

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, March 14, 2008

State government is by far the largest employer in the Sacramento region. When its payroll rises the local economy rises with it. When it falls, car dealers, real estate agents and department stores all feel the pain. Given its outsized role in our economy, The Sacramento Bee would be derelict if it failed to report what goes on in state government.

My Bee colleague Phillip Reese recently compiled state employee salaries and placed them on a database available in The Bee online. State workers were furious. Some say the online report invades their privacy, exposes them to identity theft and even violence. I say - baloney.

That information has been public for years. It’s available on state government websites not only in California but in 20 other states, from Michigan to Virginia, Vermont to Oregon. Newspapers from around the county have published public employees’ salaries in the past. If anything, The Bee has been late in getting this data out.

The Bee doesn’t publish information to annoy or titillate or endanger anyone. It publishes to inform. And it will continue to do so, because that’s what Bee readers want.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.