Salary data part of public records

By Staff
School boards release information without delay
This is the third in a series dealing with Alabama's public records and open meetings laws.
Third in a series
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
If you ask most people what their salary is, you're likely to get a funny look. Asking what someone earns is impolite, etiquette experts will tell you.
That isn't the case, however, if someone is a public employee. Alabama's open records laws require that salaries for governmental employees be public.
Compliance with public records laws has been highlighted in recent weeks through a series of articles by The Association Press about access to information throughout the state. Survey participants requested minutes from county commission and city council meetings, the front page of police and sheriffs' incident reports, county jail logs, school superintendent evaluations and, where applicable, university crime reports. Survey participants reported full compliance from Hartselle and Morgan County governmental groups.
Survey participants did not ask for salary information, however. So, as part of its series on public records laws, the Enquirer asked for salary information for two of the largest municipal employers in the county: the Hartselle City School Board and the Morgan County School Board.
As with the earlier requests, both systems complied according to law. In fact, both systems responded quickly with the list of salaries.
Alabama law requires requests for records to be filled in a "reasonable time." The law does not define "reasonable."
In both cases, the school boards filled the request the same day it was made. The salary schedules are broken down per position and based on years of experience. The list does not include employee's names, nor is it required to.
Included in the salary list is the current pay for both system superintendents. According to the Morgan County list, Superintendent Don Murphy earns $100,216 per year. Hartselle superintendent Dr. Lee Hartselle earns $113,401 per year. For a complete lists of other salaries, see chart below.
Enquirer writer Tracy Cieniewicz contributed to this report.

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