Monday, June 16, 2014


The Stark County Political Report began a new series focusing on gender (equal pay for equal work) eight weeks ago with Volume 1 with an examination of "the commissioners office," "the Stark County treasury" and "the recorder's office."

Seven weeks ago  in Volume 2 the perusal was of the county auditor's and prosecutor's office.

Six weeks ago (Volume 3 in this ongoing series) the look was at the clerk of courts office and the Stark County sheriff department.

Five 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 ol' 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 the blog of three (3) weeks ago (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.

But the blog of three (3) weeks ago (9-1-1 EMA, the Stark County Board of Elections and the Veterans Service Commissioner) showed a reversion to a indication that women are not by and large seeming to get equal pay/opportunity in county employment.

That trend appeared to continue as reported two weeks by the SCPR in this series of blogs with regard to the Dog & Kennel, Facilities and Health departments of county government.

Last's week report on Stark County Regional Planning, the Stark Parks and the Stark County Sanitary Engineering Department did nothing to dispel the notion that work needs to be done to achieve a better measure of gender equity in Stark County government.

Today, however, the SCPR's analysis of Stark County Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) does change the overall picture somewhat in that The Report thinks the numbers show that women not only get more than their fair share of jobs but the equity in pay seems to be on a parity if not advantage women.

The only fault that the SCPR can find with SCDD is the male-dominance of the governing board.

Apparently, Mr. Bucka was replaced on the board inasmuch as the SCDD Website in its current listing does not have him including but rather shows a Todd Franks as being a board member.

The board members are appointed by a combination of the Stark County commissioners and Judge Dixie Parks of the Stark County Probate Court.

This combo needs to pay closer attention to having a better balance of female/male on the governing board.

While the gender equity factor is a thumbs up, perhaps, the fiscal operation is not.

A county officials has pointed out that SCDD has about a $30 million reserve.

This is an agency of government (which gets about 56% of its annual revenue) directly from Stark County taxpayers which has about $52 million in revenue (from all sources) and spends about $51 million and faces a $5.6 million in State of Ohio support (2011 - 2016) and lost about $1 million on Stark County real property evaluations in recent years.

Development Disabilities is labor intensive.

Six hundred plus employees to serve 2,000 children which is about a 3 to 1 ration.

However, according to its literature is moving to a model where is provides less direct service to being more of a referral/coordinating service to connect the developmentally disabled to existing services.

In the SCPR's ongoing gender equity series, the SCDD stands out so far as a prime example what can be done to achieve gender equity fairness.

One might say that SCDD is "more than fair" toward women given the predominance of women over men employees.

However, an answer to such an observation is likely that women are more into the "caring professions" than men are.

As men are more likely to predominate in "engineer/technical fields" of endeavor; women gravitate to agencies of government that are nurturing and caregiving.

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