Gov. Susana Martinez has decided to post the names and salaries of classified state employees in a new place after a judge ruled last month that Martinez must remove those workers' names from the New Mexico Sunshine Portal.
The state began posting the names of the classified employees along with titles and salaries last year. Prior to that, only the names, salaries and titles of exempt employees were posted, along with the titles and salaries of classified employees.
Martinez pushed for the classified employees' names to be posted as well, saying the information is publicly available in other spots, and argued that it boosts state government transparency.
But members of AFSCME Council 18 decried the move, saying the law authorizing the sunshine portal called only for the exempt employee names, titles and salaries to be published. The union asked Martinez to remove the classified employees' names, and when she didn't, its members asked a judge to force her to take them down.
Second Judicial District Court Judge Valerie Huling in July ordered Martinez to remove the classified names.
The state now has the information posted as part of the state's main home page, at http://employees.newmexico.gov/. The database lists the same information that was on the Sunshine Portal, for both exempt and classified employees.
Martinez spokesman Scott Darnell said that next year the governor will push for legislation that puts in statute that all employee names should be posted on the website. Portal sponsor Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, worked this year to add the classified names, but that measure didn't make it out of the Legislature. He has said he again will try to codify that change.
Union members have said the information creates hard feelings among co-workers who earn different salaries for similar work. Others have expressed concerns over security when an employee's department is listed online for anyone to see. A handful of employee names have been removed because of safety concerns.
But Darnell argued the information is public and available in other places. Anyone can get employee salary information from state government, and newmexico.watchdog. org has published the information online. Darnell said the judge's ruling prohibited the information from being posted on the Sunshine Portal "but it was widely acknowledged that this is public information and therefore may be displayed on another site."
(c)2012 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.)