State and local governments make payroll with public money, which is why this news organization launched its annual I-Team Payroll Project this month to provide the public with details on how government employees are compensated.
The Payroll Project includes a searchable online database of 388,643 salaries — and counting — from employees in state government, as well as area counties, school districts, cities, townships, villages and other local entities such as libraries.
SEARCH THE DATABASE HERE
The Payroll Project is assembled using Ohio public records law. This week, March 11-17, is National Sunshine Week, a time to raise awareness of the importance of transparency in government and access to public records.
RELATED: 11 investigations that show why public records are so important
Dennis Hetzel, president of the Ohio News Media Association, said there’s good reason public employees’ payroll and personnel records should be accessible.
“These are taxpayer dollars and there’s no accountability if you don’t know how the money is being spent,” he said.
ARCHIVE: Some cities struggle to provide public records
The database currently has the salaries of public employees who earned at least $50,000 — Ohio’s median household income is $50,674, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It includes state employees and numerous government in our region for the years 2014 through 2016. We are gathering 2017 payroll data and updating the database as information is received.
The Payroll Project does more than provide links to individual salaries. It helps identify trends and makes government accountable for its decisions. Here are some of the findings from the Payroll Project in recent years: