Tuesday, May 27, 2014
VOLUME 6 (SCPR SERIES) GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN STARK COUNTY?
The Stark County Political Report began a new series focusing on gender (equal pay for equal work) five weeks ago with Volume 1 with an examination of "the commissioners office," "the Stark County treasury" and "the recorder's office."
Four weeks ago in Volume 2 the perusal was of the county auditor's and prosecutor's office.
Three weeks ago (Volume 3 in this ongoing series) the look was at the clerk of courts office and the Stark County sheriff department.
Two weeks ago (Volume 4) the SCPR examined the Stark County Engineer's office and the Stark County coroner's office.
So far The Report has been less than impressed (in an overall sense) of how Stark County's elected officials are doing on the matter of gender equity.
And that experience squares up with the state and federal governments.
A primary document to be familiar with for anyone who cares whether or not American women are treated equally in the job market is in the Equal Pay Act of 1963. However, the fight for fairness for more than half the American population continues inasmuch as the fact of the matter is that the 1963 act has not resulted in pay equity for women.
Still, in 2014, on average, women are paid 79 cents for every dollar that men are paid in the American workplace.
Of course, the law is one thing.
The underlying facts of the rampant discrimination and hardship that American women from the early 1600s on have had to endure and thereby necessitating the 1963 law is something that we all should familiarize ourselves with.
The SCPR recently completed reading Gail Collins' America's Women and recommends that readers of this blog series take time to read.
Anyone who thinks that our great nation has overcome this blight, needs to think again.
In 2009, population demographics showed that women outnumbered men 158.6 million to 151.4 million. And there is no reason that the tilt to a distinct majority women is not growing.
One danger in citing national statistics is that you, I and our neighbors might think that here in "good ole Stark County" there is very little if any gender employment discrimination going on.
Already, the SCPR believes that this blog's series is showing that the fact of the matter is that there are pockets of real and substantial differences in how men are paid depending on what department of Stark County government one is looking at.
Of course, the only place that information is readily available to assess is in government. There is no right to obtain data from the "private sector" as to what the pay scales are between males/females as there is in the public sector. Accordingly, we have no choice but to rely on national statistical studies to get a feel for what is going on locally among privately owned entities. And there is no reason to believe that the Stark County private sector varies significantly from the national scene.
As far as Stark County is concerned last week's blog (i.e. the Court of Common Pleas, Family Court and the Public Defender's departments of Stark County government) showed complete turnaround from Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 in terms of women getting equal treatment in terms of pay and position.
FIRST UP TODAY, THE 9-1-1 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
A small department of Stark County government, this does show itself to be male-dominated in terms of pay equity and perhaps job opportunity.
The SCPR wonders whether or not Catherine Patterson was provided with an opportunity to advance to deputy director when Richard Weber was hired in December, 2007 in view of her having already been on the job with the agency six years prior to the hire?
Consequently, here you have someone who is paid nearly$14,000 less a year notwithstanding her deeper experience in emergency management services.
SECOND UP, THE STARK COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
Obvious questions that Stark Countians interest in pay equity ought to be asking about Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) operations is why Democratic Deputy Director Jeanette Mullane (a former director during Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's tenure) with upwards of three (3) years more seniority than Republican Jeff Matthews is paid less than Matthews.
Moreover, Democratic Holly Tichnor has 20 years seniority over Travis Secrest and yet they are paid the same for the same job title.
The SCPR believes that if tables were turned, Secrest would be making considerably more than Tichnor.
And The Report brings into the SCPR's discussion of pay equity and perhaps job opportunity in Stark County "taxpayer financed" employment that Theresa Large (1990) and Christine Jones (1992) have lesser pay and lesser titled jobs than Secrest (2011)?
One more note about the BOE.
Ohio's county boards of elections are structured along political "cold war" lines (a la the history U.S./Soviet Union model post World War II and the early 1990s) which of course means that in terms of employment these jobs are split between Republicans and Democrats in roughly equal numbers.
Moreover, it appears that to get one of these jobs, one needs to have a political sponsor and/or have a political pedigree.
The SCPR recognizes many of the names on the BOE employment list (full or part-time) as being politically connected persons.
Several months ago Stark County Commissioner Richard Regula asked Director Matthews at a commissioner work session on the 2014 county general fund budget (Matthews having announced BOE plans to hire four new employees in the near future) whether or not the jobs were going to be posted. All of us attending the meeting laughed.
And, of course, Matthews was astonished to get such a question.
To the SCPR the structure of county boards of election is in and of itself an outrage and then to add insult to injury (here in Stark County) with indication of "gender unfairness" under the guise of "the political cold war structure" should get the dander of all of us up to new heights.
LAST UP, VETERANS SERVICE COMMISSION
Of the departments of Stark County government covered in today's blog, the Veterans Service Commission (VSC) does best on gender pay equity and employment opportunity.
However, there is a question as to why there are "NO" female VSC board members?
Women haven't and/or aren't presently serving in the armed forces of the United States of America?
The Report has two daughters who are commissioned officers in the United States Air Force.
They were raised in Stark County.
Haas, May, Kemp, Hoskinson and Datz, the SCPR understands, are concerned about their pay grade.
The VSC board recently got into a tiff with the Stark County commissioners over the commissioners' rejection of they (and certain VSC administrators) being provided with a county general fund appropriation so that they could stay at a Cleveland area hotel/motel for a training conference earlier this month to be held in Independence, Ohio.
The Report's take is that in retaliation to the commissioners' rejection, VSC board member Frank Kemp, Sr launched an attack on the commissioners' hiring practices in terms of adding positions and hiring in pay rate.
In challenging the commissioners, Kemp worried that he and others were not going to get raises to the equivalent of member Haas.
And that was all well and good.
In this back and forth, it came out that perhaps the matter of pay raises within the VSC has not been done heretofore according to Ohio statutory law, to wit:
5901.04 Payment of expenses and compensation of commissioners.
On the presentation of an itemized statement, the board of county commissioners shall allow the persons composing the veterans service commission their reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, and shall fix a fair compensation for their services. The county auditor shall issue a warrant upon the county treasurer for the amount so allowed.
Effective Date: 07-22-1994 (emphasis added)
As The Report understands what has been going on insofar as anybody can remember, is that the VSC board has been setting pay rates for themselves and employees of the VSC.
Stark County Chief Administrator Brant Luther (whose pay rate was challenged by Kemp) that the matter of ORC 5901.04 is under review and that the commissioners have made no determination on past, present or future pay rates at the VSC.
Undoubtedly, the folks at the VSC want to be treated fairly.
Well, doesn't it stand to reason that those who seek fairness mete out fairness?
In that respect, how about Kemp et al (i.e. the board as a whole) seeing to it that a female board member or two or three be brought onto the board?