Thursday, June 20, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, March 30, 2018
How much privacy for public employees?
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 4:35 PM :: 4852 Views :: First Amendment, Labor

How much privacy for public employees?

From Grassroot Institute, March 30, 2018

Transparency is a difficult area for politicians and policymakers.

Typically they profess to understand the value of open government, but it’s astounding how quickly they can carve out exceptions to withhold information from the public.

Consider HB1768, a bill currently working its way through the state Legislature. If enacted, it would disclose salary information about government workers in the form of ranges, as opposed to exact compensation. Supporters of the bill (like the Hawaii Government Employees Association) cite the need for some level of privacy for state employees, which many people can sympathize with. On the other hand, early versions of the bill didn’t specify the ranges that should be provided, making any information it would provide virtually useless for the purpose of studying public employees compensation.

Salary information was crucial to the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii’s efforts to expose excessive overtime pay on Kauai, and it has been at the heart of other overtime scandals. To reduce this to a question of privacy overlooks the strong public interest in knowing how taxpayer money is being spent, especially when corruption and self-dealing might be hidden in those salaries.

In its latest incarnation, HB 1768 caps the range at $15,000 — an improvement on its previous versions. However, in the effort to balance privacy and the public interest, we must remember that government employees are in a different category than the typical private citizen. They hold a position of public trust, and with that comes a higher standard of openness about the details of their employment — including their compensation.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii