ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Martinez administration has put the names, positions and salaries of classified state employees on a public website, three weeks after a state district judge ordered the names removed from a different online database.
The full state employee listing – exempt and classified employees in the executive, legislative and judicial branches – is now available on a Web page within the state’s portal website, www.newmexico.gov.
“This is information that is routinely produced to the media and the public. It has always been publicly available; it’s simply now available on the Web,” said Scott Darnell, a spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez.
The administration last year added the names of more than 18,000 classified employees to the Sunshine Portal. The searchable state database already contained those employees’ job titles and salary levels, as well as full information on exempt employees – political appointees not subject to state personnel rules.
A union representing state workers – the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 18 – went to court, arguing that the law creating the Sunshine Portal did not authorize the posting of the classified workers’ names – just their agencies, job titles and salaries.
Judge Valerie Huling of Albuquerque on July 23 ordered the names of the classified employees removed.
Shane Youtz, a lawyer for AFSCME, said Wednesday that the union is “disappointed” with what appeared to be an attempt by the administration to circumvent what lawmakers had in mind.
“The Legislature intended to give classified employees a small measure of privacy,” which “the governor apparently begrudges,” Youtz said.
Martinez plans to push the Legislature again in 2013 to expand the Sunshine Portal to include the names of classified workers. A similar effort failed this year.
The original bill’s sponsor, Sen. Sander Rue, R-Albuquerque, said the full employee information should be with other state financial information, on the Sunshine Portal.
“The end result of all this is, it simply makes it more difficult for the citizens of New Mexico to access public information,” Rue said.
The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has supported posting the full information.
“FOG’s position is, this is public information and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be online,” Executive Director Gwyneth Doland said. — This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal