Mackinac Center Temporarily Removes Some State Employee Salaries from Database After Questioning Accuracy of State Data

Friday, March 24, 2017


Chantal Lovell
Communications Manager

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has temporarily removed Michigan Department of Corrections employees from the Michigan Government Salaries Database after a review showed a pattern of likely errors in individual workers’ salary data. The Mackinac Center has contacted state officials, who originally provided the information in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, and will return Corrections employees to the searchable online database once the apparent issues with the state’s data are resolved.

The database, available online at, was launched recently as a joint initiative of the Mackinac Center, Michigan Press Association and Michigan Coalition for Open Government.

The database contains salary data as it was provided by administrators of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) in response to FOIA requests. Some of the salaries of Department of Corrections employees appear incorrect, so the Center has contacted the Department to request clarification or correct information. 

“The Mackinac Center is committed to providing research and information held to the highest scholarly standards,” said Mackinac Center Executive Vice President Michael Reitz. “Although we accurately reproduced the information we received from the state, we believe some of the information may be incorrect. We are working with the state departments to identify accurate figures.”

The Center sent FOIA requests to the state pension systems requesting the total gross payments to workers for each of the past three fiscal years. Reitz said the apparent error demonstrates precisely why the Michigan Legislature should make public employee compensation available.

“If the state provided the information through legislation, even more watchdogs could examine the numbers,” Reitz said. “The people of Michigan pay the salaries of government employees and they have a right to easily accessible, timely and correct information.”

Additional information on the database can be found here.

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About the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents by promoting sound solutions to state and local economic policy questions. As a free-market think tank, the Mackinac Center is guided by its belief in free markets, individual liberty, limited government and the rule of law. Founded in 1988, it is headquartered in Midland, Michigan. For more information, visit