The University of New Mexico took its role as the state’s flagship university seriously last week, blazing an information trail for the rest of the state’s institutions of higher learning by placing its employee salary and financial information online.
UNM follows the city of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Public Schools and the state into the land of sunshine with the benefit of knowing the dire predictions that falling productivity, rising staff tensions and rampant identity theft never panned out for any of them.
Now phase one of sunshine.unm.edu has the names of Main Campus employees and their salaries, as well as all university contracts of $20,000 or more. A second phase, scheduled for this summer, will include budget and expenditure information and an advanced search function.
Outgoing UNM president David Schmidly says he’s “pleased that the sunshine portal is in place before I leave office, reflecting my commitment to transparency as president.” And incoming president Bob Frank says he is “excited to begin my presidency at an institution that values and has taken a leadership role in advancing transparency in higher education.”
It’s a handoff that should rank high in UNM’s presidential relay — as Regent Jamie Koch points out, “we’re a public institution and (the salary book is) a public document. … The taxpayers have a right to know what you’re paying people.”
And it’s a direction other institutions of higher learning would be wise to follow.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.