Tom Long, a student at the University of Wisconsin, has won $500 for discovering that there are 324 guidance counselors in Wisconsin schools who make more than $100,000 in total annual compensation (salary and fringe benefits). In 2001, that number was zero.
To promote www.WIOpenGov.org, the MacIver Institute offered a $500 prize for the most interesting information gleaned from the new government transparency website.
“Tom Long showed just how powerful our WIOpenGov.org website is,” said MacIver Institute President Brett Healy. “His search of K-12 payrolls revealed the shocking news that there are more than 300 guidance counselors in Wisconsin Schools with six figure compensation packages.
Launched earlier this year, the MacIver Institute’s new open government site provides you with one location for data on Wisconsin public employee salaries, benefits and labor contracts. MacIver has worked hard to not just allow “access” the way many government information sites do, but to give you all of the data in a format that is easy to search.
“The website is loaded with data that is only one click away,” said Long who is studying Economics and Math at UW-Madison.
The MacIver Institute just added 2010 payroll data for more than 30,000 state employees to the site.
Healy said Long submitted the most interesting entry, as judged by the staff of the MacIver Institute, and received a check for $500.
MacIver Institute staff does not augment or manipulate the data it receives from the state and local governments. Healy says www.WIOpenGov.orgcurrently includes payroll information for all state employees, payroll and benefit information for every K-12 school employee in Wisconsin and information from several large municipalities.
All of the data available on www.WIOpenGov.orgis public, in accordance to state law. However, different government entities have varying commitments to just how accessible the information was to the general public.
The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a two-year old think tank located on the Capitol Square in Madison, is the Free Market Voice for Wisconsin. In addition to WIOpenGov.org, MacIver publishes research and analysis on education, tax and health care issues and operates the MacIver News Service—a copyright free open source news-reporting agency that focuses on free market issues in the public arena.