Started at the The Chronicle as a night police reporter in 2000, after moving to Augusta from Lynchburg, Va. The following year, joined the Special Projects team. In 2003, covered the invasion of Iraq as an embedded reporter with the Augusta-based 319th Transportation Company. Served as the Society of Professional Journalists' Georgia Sunshine Chair from 2007 to 2009. After Sylvia Cooper retired in 2008, spent a little over a year as the newspaper's city government reporter, writing The City Core both as a weekend print column and as an online blog. This year, joined the newly-formed Public Service team.
Posted April 2, 2009 12:24 pm - Updated April 2, 2009 12:25 pm

A salary database for the 'burbs

Our online database of Augusta-Richmond County employees’ salaries went live last month and swept through the marble palace like wildfire. We got some complaints about it, one of which I thought was valid: Why are you picking on Augusta city employees?

My answer to that was we weren’t picking on them, just starting with them. Earlier this week, we put up a second salary database for Columbia County employees. It’s at http://chronicle.augusta.com/metro. To go straight to it, click here: http://chronicle.augusta.com/metro/salaries/columbia_county.shtml.

Our goal is to continue expanding on this public service so it grows into a comprehensive tool for tracking tax dollars. It’s a fluid undertaking, too. I didn’t realize until a reader pointed out to me that our first version of the Augusta database didn’t include Planning Commission employees, so we had to go back and incorporate them.

For those of you thinking this just isn’t fair, remember, these salaries are funded by taxes, and taxes are compulsory. If you don't pay them, you could lose your house or go to jail. That’s not to say government doesn’t provide vital services, but I digress.

These people work for you and me. It's our money, and we have a right to see where it's going.