Mayor Richard Berry provided us with a new online time-waster Wednesday on the city's ABQ View government transparency website. The database list includes the names, departments, positions, base pay and total year-to-date earnings of all 6,000 city employees. It will be updated every pay period. Seriously, I've already looked up the salaries for the Police Department and am moving on to Parks and Recreation as soon as I finish writing this blog.
ABQ View launched in August of 2010 and started out by publishing the names (or positions) and salaries of appointed officials and the 250 highest-paid employees. The city is the first in New Mexico to publish this information on all employees who's salaries come from tax-payer money, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Due to Berry's efforts on increasing government openness, the city received a Sunny Award from the Sunshine Review for a perfect record in transparency. Only 112 governmental entities throughout the country have received this distinction from the nonprofit organization that collects and shares state and local government information.
Some city employees expressed concerns about publicizing a notoriously taboo subject like salary, but Berry pushed ahead saying that the community deserves to know how its money is spent. Concerns about identity theft have not been substantiated.
The expansion of the website allows interested parties to search out instances of nepotism as well as examine the database for tax money spent on travel expenses and city contracts. For the incurably nosy, its the peephole we've been waiting for.