Tammany council defers proposal to put employees’ salaries online

The St. Tammany Parish Council postponed action Thursday on a measure that would have required the salaries of all parish employees to be posted on the parish’s website each January, amid concerns over whether it would have a detrimental effect on morale and how it would be administered.

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Chris Canulette, would have required yearly posting of the salary information, as well as the parish’s pay scale and schedule of raises.

But after a half hour of debate, the council voted to delay the proposal so the Finance Committee can study it.

Before the meeting, Canulette was confident the measure would pass. However, several council members worried that posting the information could embarrass or create jealousy among employees, especially those at the low end of the parish’s wage scale.

“The personal part of this ordinance is overreach and overkill,” Councilman T.J. Smith said. “Why do we need to go to this extent to embarrass, to decrease the morale of our employees?”

Some council members suggested that the salaries could be posted without names but rather with job titles or descriptions, a change Canulette said he could live with. But, he said, the information needs to be published.

“It’s real simple. It’s public funds that pay these people, and other parishes have done this,” Canulette said. “It’s one simple word: transparency,” he added to applause.

But after more questions about how often the list would be updated and whether it would impact morale, the council voted 8-4 to delay consideration of the proposal.