Bee’s teacher database sidesteps privacy issue

Kudos to the Sac Bee for its newest salary database on all of the state’s teachers. “See how well your school district pays its teachers.” Not “See how much your kid’s teacher makes.” The tool allows you to look up district average salaries and other data, and compare salaries across districts in a region or across the state. A useful tool without any of the privacy issues. This should be the model for all of the Bee’s salary databases.

I do think it is interesting that the spin has been spun somewhat on this one… “Are teachers in your area making what they deserve?” That sentiment is absent from Melanie Sill’s editorial on the backlash to the State worker pay database. Back then it was all about doing a public service, giving us information about worker compensation because “state spending [is] under pressure.” Now, it’s all about making sure your kid’s teacher is getting a good paycheck? Maybe I’m splitting hairs, but I sense that the Bee is making some much needed course corrections here.

Sac Bee to publish county salaries?

I have learned that The Bee has filed a Public Records Act for “2007 base salary and overtime records, including employee name, department, and job title” for all employees of Sacramento County. Apparently the Bee is planning to compile a database and release all the information on its website, as it did earlier this year for State of CA workers.

This raises all the same issues as that project, concerning workers’ privacy, safety, and the public benefit of this level of public records releasing by the Bee. Continue reading “Sac Bee to publish county salaries?”

County’s new mapping tool goes live

Sac County rolled out a new online mapping application “that provides maps and information about services and facilities available to or near a specific property.” It’s called e-Map-It, and it’s available on their page of online services, which is actually a really nice list. As far as e-Map-It goes, it seems pretty useful. If you were looking at houses you could get all sorts of info on utilities and services. I suppose the main reason they can’t just rely on a Google maps for all the map info is because this particular one is tied to parcel number and overlaying parcel number data on GMap would probably be as time consuming as building and deploying a .NET application.

UPDATE: Thanks to Bill G. pointing out that the tool doesn’t even support Firefox, I can take back my wishy-washy approval and give this thing a big fat thumbs down.