Nonprofit News Site Publishes All NOLA City Salaries

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July 22, 2014; The Lens

Last week, The Lens published the salaries of all of New Orleans’s city workers, focusing most intensely on the highest-paid personnel. While some may find this kind of transparency around salaries uncomfortable, it does provide a valuable point of accountability and it helps in the campaign to look at salary ratios as can be seen in the material below.

Here are some of the more interesting findings:

  • Mayor Mitch Landrieu is the 10th-highest paid employee in the city. He’s paid $150,765 a year. For comparison, the mayor of Baton Rouge earns $135,447, the mayor of Austin earns $81,344 and the mayor of Boston is paid $175,000.
  • The lowest-paid full-time city employees earn $18,457 a year. The 26 people with that salary work as library pages, police technician trainees, and office assistant trainees. The highest-paid city employee, the airport director, earns as much as 13 of the lowest paid workers.
  • Full-time city workers earn an average of $48,367 per year. The average income in New Orleans in 2012 was $44,379, by the way.

NPQ has covered this issue previously in a story about charity regulation of pay ratios. Why not think about a system of voluntary disclosure as an example for opther sectors?—Ruth McCambridge

  • Tom Scott

    I do not understand why the names of the employees (other than executives) have to be released. Isn’t there enough accountability in just publishing the list of positions with the salaries? Publishing the names just gives people who can’t control their jealousy and need to gossip negatively about individuals something else to talk about and otherwise serves no public purpose.

    I do want to know the analysis of salary data by position like your did above. And I fully support the salary disclosure of the executives, especially those that influence policy.

  • James Schmeling

    Interestingly, Iowa has published state salaries, including university salaries, for many years. See for the information.