Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I typed in the name of a person I know is employed by the state, but her name and salary were not listed. Why?

A. Several possible reasons:

a) She was not employed by the state during the time period covered in Searchlight New Mexico's Data Watch database. (See payroll Data Notes for more on time periods.)

b) Her name was reported with a variant spelling. Try searching for a portion of her name, or a variant of her name. For example, Smith-Jones might have been reported as SmithJones or Smith Jones.

c) The form automatically begins searching within the Branch/Major Category you chose at the start of your session. For example, if you entered the Payroll search page by clicking on "Municipalities" and then shifted your search to focus on county employees, you would not find the results you sought unless you switched the Branch/Major Category button to "Counties".

Q. My salary information is incorrect. Why?

A. The information is presented exactly as provided by official government agencies in response to open records requests. It will not reflect a change in salary that took effect after the period the data were reported. For example, an employee salary included in a database for 2014 will not reflect a raise that was effective in 2015. If you believe we have been given inaccurate data, please contact us and we will work to correct the mistake with the appropriate entity.

Q. I know a particular agency or board should have members listed in the Financial Disclosures section, but searching its name turns up no results. Why?

A. Some boards and agencies were reported by the New Mexico secretary of state's office with the word "Other" before the title, like "Other Animal Sheltering Board." Try starting your search with "Other" and the agency or board's name.

Q. What is the purpose of this web site?

A. Searchlight New Mexico is a non-partisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigative reporting and innovative data journalism. We believe great reporting can empower the public to demand honest, effective public policy. Revealing how public money is spent is part of this mission.

Q. How, from where and how often do you get updated information?

A. The data are acquired directly from state, county and local governments. We are constantly adding new datasets and new kinds of data to the site, and we aim to keep the existing information relevant by updating it as new data become available.

Q. How do you get your name or other information removed from this site?

A. If you are a public employee, certain aspects of your employment are a matter of public record as outlined in New Mexico's Inspection of Public Records Act. IPRA states in part that it is the official public policy of New Mexico "that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of public officers and employers." For that reason, names of public employee will not be removed from the site. If you believe your information has been misrepresented on the site, please contact us.