I am concerned about the motives and newsworthiness of the recent publishing of the Sunnyside School District employee salary list.
As you are obviously aware, the salary of ALL public employees is available without restriction upon the request of any individual, as public employees are paid with tax dollars. However, along with the right to access that information, each interested individual or group should assume the responsibility of requesting it.
As there was a shocking lack of news article to accompany the sizable payroll list, I fail to recognize the newsworthiness of publishing this information at this time. If the purpose is linked to some local noteworthy event or outcry, I am unaware of it.
Therefore, the impression is given that the Sunnyside Daily Sun News is creating the news, rather than reporting the news. In the past, when other public employees' salaries have been published, care was taken to keep employee names private and simply list the job title and salary of the employees. This is a consideration that was shamefully not extended to the employees of the Sunnyside School District.
I'm sure you would understand why I may not want the world to know how much I personally make, as you may not want your salary broadcast to the general public either. If you disagree with my position on this, then I invite you to notify your employees of a plan to publish their names alongside their salaries for all of Sunnyside to see. I am willing to wager that there would be some dissent amongst the troops.
A more tactful approach to this topic may have been to write an actual article regarding the amount of money our district spends on salaries, and link it to some relevant issue in our city, county, state, or country today. As a part of the article, you could have notified the public how to access the information if they wanted further or more specific data regarding the SSD payroll, or other expenditures.
At the very least, the names of individual employees should have been withheld from the published record. Instead, our payroll information was simply listed like sports statistics, without regard to the impact this may personally have on any of the individuals who have been identified.
Perhaps you will take this letter into consideration prior to printing such lists in the future.
/s/ Nicole Walker, Sunnyside teacher