Some California state employees have reacted strongly to the Sacramento Bee’s creation of an online database showing their base pay plus any overtime and gross pay by amount, first and last name, job title, and the agency or university where they work. The database is searchable by first and last name (or last name only) and agency or university workplace. 

The new feature, part of the Bee‘s increasing tendency to present data from public records to readers directly on its website, has stirred enough powerful reactions from employees that Bee Executive Editor Melanie Sill devoted her weekly column today to them, acknowledging the “extremely heavy use of our Web database, which has put a strain on our comments function, so comments may not be available at all times.” She also noted the main sources of critics’ concerns or objections and provided the Bee’s responses to them: the newspaper’s purposes in publishing the information; employee safety and identity theft anxieties; and the public interest in being informed of such facts.

In a separate display the Bee shows all of the more than 900 state agency (not university) employees paid more than $200,000 per year.  Most are psychiatrists, and most of them are with the Department of Corrections. The Bee databases do not show information on legislative employees.