How Much Money Does My Neighbor Make?

By Anthony | April 30th, 2006 | 9:53 pm

In the Local (High Point) section of today’s News and Record the top story was entitled “What They Earn”:

They patrol your streets, collect your trash, patch potholes and keep the city’s parks clean. They run afterschool programs for your children and help them find library books.

They are the city of High Point’s nearly 1,500 employees, and they received $77.2 million in salary and benefits in the 2005-06 fiscal year.

As a taxpayers, [sic] you help pay their salaries and should know who they are and how much they get for what they do.

The article then proceeds to list the name of every city of High Point employee, along with his or her job title and salary. Starting with the City Manager, the list works its way through every director, police officer, fireman, and sanitation worker. While I appreciate the fact that as a taxpayer I have the right to know this information, listing it all in the newspaper seems a bit intrusive.

If someone feels they really must know how much their neighbor the firefighter or city office worker makes in a year, they are free to make a call to High Point’s Human Resources department to hunt down that information. Does it really need to be handed to me on a silver platter (or, I suppose, in a plastic bag on my driveway) so I can get a glimpse into their finances over breakfast?

If the News and Record really feels we should have this information available at our fingertips, would it not have been better to just list specifics for the mayor and a handful of top city positions, and then just give salary ranges broken out by job title? That would still give everone a good idea of where money is being spent without plastering individual workers’ actual salaries all over the paper. If anyone felt they needed more information, they could always go into stalker mode and make the call to Human Resources on their own.

5 Responses to “How Much Money Does My Neighbor Make?”

  1. jim Says:

    don’t be so goddamn sensitive, idiot

  2. Plead the First » Blog Archive » From Meme to You Says:

    [...] I do use one, and I look at it at regular intervals, though not too frequently. I don’t expect to ever have a ton of traffic, but it makes me happy to know that there’s a steady (though relatively small) number of people coming through. Of course, I feel bad for many of them, because according to my traffic counter, a lot of them are finding me through this post when they’re doing a search for “how much money does a fireman make”, and unfortunately for them, the post doesn’t actually answer that question. [...]

  3. mary Says:

    how many money does fireman career anually

  4. Brenda Bowers Says:

    I quite agree with you Anthony. Listing all of the salaries was intrusive and in very bad taste. Most people simply do not wish their friends and neighbors to have that kind of personal information about them. To most people their wages are a gage of their self worth. It is wrong of course, but many see it this way. Did the N&R give the salaries of all their employees in comparison with the city’s by any chance? I think not!

  5. PotatoStew Says:

    Thanks for the comment Brenda. It’s kind of a strange situation, because those salaries are public information, but the article just made it too easy and effortless to find out. Most folks wouldn’t think to go look up their neighbor’s salary, but having it dropped right in front of them is probably too tempting for most to ignore.

    While I’m here… for all those Google searchers, take a look here.

    And to anyone offended by the first comment on this post (the one by jim), I apologize. It was just too funny and ironic to delete.