Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Unless you are politically connected, a woman can forget getting a top level, high paying job in Stark County's most urban township.

As stunning as Jackson Township's numbers were in last week's SCPR series (volume 12) on gender equity, Plain's are even worse.

Of 94 township employees (full and part time, not including elected officials), on 5.5% of Plain's employees are women.

Of 68 township full-time employees, only 10% are women.

It appears to the SCPR that one way women can improve their lot in Plain Township government is to be politically connected.

Township Administrator Lisa Jackson Sabina Campbell is:
  • the daughter of former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson, 
  • the sister of Stark County Democratic Party Political Director,
  • the wife of Stark County recorder Rick Campbell
all of whom are part of what the SCPR calls the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr Loyalty Club.  Maier is a former chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party and is currently Massillon clerk of course with Shane Jackson employed as his chief deputy.

Pictured in the left hand margin is long time Plain Township trustee Louis P. Giavasis who is the brother of Stark County Dems' chairman Phil Giavasis.

Maier, Jr., by the way, says that Gayle Jackson is the best Stark County commissioner that Stark County has ever had.

Louis also works for Democratic Stark County Clerk of Courts Nancy Giavasis as does fellow trustee Al Leno, II.  

The SCPR has written prolifically over the nearly seven years of this blog about the political machinations which The Report believes took place to provide Jackson-Sabina-Campbell the opportunity to be Plain's top female employee and only second to Fire Chief Donald Snyder.

Snyder earns $78,500 after 35 years of employment.  Jackson-Sabina-Campbell earns $72,000 after some 18 years of employment.

But Administrator Campbell is the only female employee who does well pay-wise compared to the men that the township employs.

At number 62 is Linda Gambol.  After more than 20 years of service she only earns $37,148 which is a far cry from the administrator lofty $72,000.

Gambol has more service than many of the men ahead of her, but they are paid substantially more.

Only three other women earn in the $30,000 range in Plain. 

This group of women are in the rock-bottom tier of pay for Plain Township full-time employees.

One of the rejoinders of some readers of this blog is that many of Plain's employees are firefighters and that being a firefighter is not suitable employment for women.

To which the SCPR responds, balderdash!

Very little if any factor in the overall question of whether or not women are suited to be firefighters, policepersons on any other "traditional" male-centered occupations have to do with physical ability to do the job.

The major factors are cultural-centered biases.

Historically in America, women have done just fine as firefighters when provided an opportunity or they have seized the initiative on their own.

Here is some history:
The first known female firefighter of the United States was a slave from New York named Molly Williams, who was said to be "as good a fire laddie as many of the boys," and fought fires during the early 1800s. ...
In the 1820s, Marina Betts was a volunteer firefighter in Pittsburgh. ...
Lillie Hitchcock was made an honorary member of the Knickerbocker Engine Company, No. 5., in San Francisco in 1863, and fought fires for some years after.

In the 1910s, there were women's volunteer fire companies in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Los Angeles, California. ...
In 1936 Emma Vernell became the first official female firefighter in New Jersey. ...

During World War II some women served as firefighters in the United States to replace firemen who joined the military; indeed, during part of the war two fire departments in Illinois were all-female. ... 
In 1942 the first all-female forest firefighting crew in California was created. ...

There were all-female fire companies in Kings County, California, and Woodbine, Texas, in the 1960s.
In 1971 an all-female BLM (Bureau of Land Management) firefighting crew fought fires in the wilds of Alaska during the summer of 1971, and an all-female U.S. Forest Service firefighting crew fought fires in 1971 and 1972 in Montana. ...

The first known female fire chief in the U.S. was Ruth E. Capello. Ruth Capello was born in 1922 and became fire chief of the Butte Falls fire department in Butte Falls, Oregon in 1973. She died at the age of 70 in 1992. ...
Sandra Forcier, the first known paid female firefighter (excluding forest firefighting) in the U.S., began working in North Carolina in 1973; she was a Public Safety Officer, a combination of police officer and firefighter. ...
The first woman to work solely as a paid firefighter (excluding forest firefighting) was Judith Livers, hired by the Arlington County, Virginia, fire department in 1974. ...
The first female head of a career fire department, Chief Rosemary Bliss in Tiburon, California, became fire chief in 1993. ...
One of the concerns on physical ability has to do with the handling of hoses. 

From a Wikepedia article:
According to the publication LA Weekly, "Firefighters pull heavy lengths of hose, climb stairs while wielding giant power tools like chain saws, and lift 180-pound, 35-foot wooden ladders... Firefighters' physicians say that a human expected to pull the heaviest hose lines must weigh at least 143 pounds," and some women go through extensive training, sometimes paid for by the hiring municipality, prior to beginning actual training in a firefighting academy ... .
The short and the skinny of it is that hiding behind the notion that firefighting is "men's work" is utter nonsense.

For Plain Township or any other Stark County political subdivision to perpetuate the myth is an outrage on the 51.5% (52.3% in Plain) of taxpaying women who constitute the Stark County population.

For Plain to being doing worse than Jackson Township on gender equity issues is interesting.

Jackson is probably the Stark County bastion of the Republican Party which is not particularly well known for its looking after minority rights.

Plain, on the other hand, has Democratic leadership and while not like Canton in the overwhelming predominance of Democrats in its population, it certainly is predominantly Democratic in voter registration.

And many, if not most, Democratic officials like to think they stand more for minority rights (women are classified as being a minority in U.S. law) than Republicans.

So what is going on in Plain?

5.5% women in employment compared to Jackson's 13.5%.

While both are a disgrace, it is very telling on Plain officials that the Plain led by Democrats Giavasis and Leno are outpaced by Jackson's Republican (Hawke and Walters) leadership.

So much for the rhetoric, no?

The SCPR is pleased in this series to bring to the attention of Stark Countians the degree to which Stark County government abides unfair treatment of the county's women.

Such does beg the question:

How long are Stark/Jackson/Plain women going to abide their public officials abiding gender inequity?

Perhaps Stark's women should be thinking in terms of developing some political muscle for themselves.

For it appears that political connections and oomph can be very effective!

The SCPR is on volume 13 of this series on gender equity in Stark County/political subdivision government.

Here are links to the prior blogs:

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