Well, this should come as a surprise to exactly no one, but according to reports published last week, Josh Mandel’s public employee search engine seems to be a little inaccurate. According to ABC 5 in Cleveland, the State Treasurer’s office has been receiving reports from citizens who are looking their names up in the database only to see that salaries attributed to them are inflated. How inflated? Inflated enough that at least one school district wants Mandel to take down the site to fix the $1.6 million overstatement in salaries attributed to them.
School district treasurers and a university professors’ union were among those asking that their information be pulled, or the site shut down, due to broader inaccuracies.
“I do understand the need to make this information public, however, I would think that you would not want to cause harm to public employers by disseminating incorrect information,” wrote Marsha Clark, treasurer of East Holmes Local School District in Berlin. She said listings for her district are outdated and overstate salaries by more than $1.6 million.
$1.6 million? Seriously? I can understand having a couple of discrepancies here and there but having one entire school district’s salary off by $1.6 million is a whole different story. That’s not just an error, that is a sign of systemic sloppiness.
The problem isn’t so much that the database is inaccurate. From the first day the database was released there were reports of information being wrong in it. The problem is that this whole issue has been nothing but a backhanded attempt by Mandel to vilify public employees. Not only is the information inaccurate but his office is doing nothing to take the database down and correct it. Instead, they are willing to leave the information up for anyone to access knowing full well that some of the information is just wrong. Explain to me how giving people inaccurate information helps further government transparency?
I’m sure there is a value to having a database keeping track of all public employee salaries. But there is also a value to making sure the information in it accurate, especially if you are going to release it to the public. Josh Mandel’s attempt to try and say this database has nothing to do with the current discussion of public employees in Ohio and SB 5 is laughable at best. This whole scheme has been a thinly veiled political attack on public employees meant to bring further doubt about their value to voters. Seeing how it took Mandel over six months to turn in his own financial disclosure forms to run for U.S. Senate it might have behooved him to taken the same amount of time to make sure he was getting other people’s information right as well.