A media watchdog is defying a judge who ordered New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez to remove the names of state government workers employees to be removed from an online database of their pay.
"We have recreated the Sunshine Portal in response to a lawsuit by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District 18 union to eliminate the names of classified workers from the Internet portal established to give taxpayers access to information on the state's finances," New Mexico Watchdog said.
"Classified employees work under the state's civil service guidelines. Numbering 26,149 employees, they comprise the overwhelming bulk of New Mexico's state payroll. Only 1,005 of the state's workforce is not considered classified. The names of those latter individuals were never in contention as the Sunshine Portal act explicitly directed that they be published," the group said.
Earlier this year, the AFSCME local convinced a New Mexico judge to order Martinez to remove the names of individual employees from the Sunshine Portal, a state government web site established to enable public access to the information. When the judge ordered Martinez to remove the names, she did, but said she might re-post the data with the names on another web site.
"In the meantime, New Mexico Watchdog and our sponsor the Rio Grande Foundation will continue to provide the full, searchable database for ALL state employees," the group said.
"The court's order does not apply to us, and we are publishing only information that is publicly available, but doing so in a format that is user friendly. While we cannot automatically update the information as easily as the state, we will periodically add the latest employee information into the database."
For more on the controversy over online posting of government employees compensation data, go here.