Methodology: Exempt salaries database
Posted August 26, 2013
Updated November 4, 2013
WHY WE PUBLISHED EXEMPT EMPLOYEE SALARIES
State employees are paid with taxpayer dollars and every job title, employee and salary is available in the public record.
Publishing data about state exempt employees allows readers to explore the public information available on these employees, each of whom the governor has exempted from laws governing termination and other personnel rules. This database offers the public an opportunity to review and evaluate the raw data and draw their own conclusions.
The published database of exempt employees includes name, salary, department, job title and more. Because state employees with the same job classification can be exempt or non-exempt, matching the individual names with the position numbers allows us to more clearly identify who Gov. Pat McCrory selected for exempt positions and how the state is compensating them.
HOW WE DEVELOPED THE DATABASE
Information contained in the exempt employees database was obtained using correspondence from the governor's office and information on public employees from the Office of the State Controller.
The 1,300 exempt positions included in this database were designated by McCrory in a Oct. 1 memo to the state human resources director and legislative leaders, which was obtained by WRAL through a public records request.
This list provides a snapshot of the 1,500 positions the governor is legally allowed by the State Personnel Act to designate within his cabinet departments. Per state law, the governor may redesignate exempt positions at any time, but doesn't need to update legislative leaders on these changes for another 180 days. Data is current as of Oct. 1, 2013 – the date of McCrory's most recent exemption letter.
We also requested the list of all state employees from the Office of the State Controller, then cross-referenced the position numbers in the governor's list with specific employees listed in that public employee information file. Salary data is current as of Oct. 27.
To obtain the corresponding salary ranges, we used database software to match job classification titles in our data to salary schedules listed in the July 2013 State of North Carolina Salary Plan, produced by the Office of State Human Resources. The remaining positions not matched with software were entered manually by searching the salary schedule for each job title. Positions not listed or not found in the Salary Plan are marked "N/A."
While the full data set includes additional information, WRAL omitted data that was duplicated information, wasn't important to the story or was used internally for fact-checking.
Questions? Spot an error? Email public records reporter Tyler Dukes.