Want to know how much your public servants are making? Hop on the Miami-Dade County website, click "Transparency," and select "Employee Salaries." In just a few seconds, you can get salary information on anyone who works for the county. Say, for instance, Barbara Jordan! As commissioner, the site helpfully reveals, she earns $50,000 a year.
Jordan apparently thinks that search is a little too easy. She has introduced a resolution that would remove the salary database from the county website.
Why? Jordan didn't answer repeated calls from Riptide, but according to her resolution, "The County must counterbalance the need for transparency with the safety of its employees and the need to refrain from providing information which, when taken out of context, would mislead the public."
What her resolution doesn't make clear is exactly how making employees' salaries easily searchable by taxpayers could "mislead the public."
Does the fact that County Attorney Robert Cuevas makes well over $300,000 annually confuse you? Is Cathy Jackson, the director of Audit and Management Services, any less safe because the public knows she's paid more than $200,000?
Telling people that Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus will make almost $400,000 this year isn't misleading; it's simply a fact. Just like it's a fact that the county's four deputy mayors are each paid more than $200,000 and that every county attorney makes six figures.
What is misleading is to claim to be transparent and then hide information from the public.
Of course, even if the resolution passes (it's scheduled to be discussed at next month's commission meeting), residents can still obtain salary figures; they'll just have to fill out a records request and wait several weeks for a response.