Judge rules for PSC in dispute over executive pay disclosure
HELENA, Mont. - A Montana judge has rejected a telephone company's claim that its executives' pay is a confidential trade secret. District Judge Mike Menahan of Helena ruled last week for the Public Service Commission, which requires the companies it regulates to disclose the salaries and total compensation of their executives. The PSC had denied Southern Montana Telephone Co., which has about 950 customers, its request for a protective order that would keep confidential the salary information of executives who make more than $100,000. The company sued, seeking Menahan's ruling on its argument that salary information is a trade secret and is protected under privacy rights. Menahan's order says the PSC properly concluded the information is not a trade secret and the public has a constitutional right to scrutinize the company's public utility records.