Pay inequity in Idaho near national average
March 21, 2012
Moscow-Pullman Daily News
It must warm some cockles somewhere in the Gem State capital - Idaho is on par with a national average.
That should be great news to those who follow such things. But before you can say, "Move over, Mississippi," it must be noted that the national mark in this case is nothing to be proud of.
According to a story in the Idaho Statesman, women in Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's Cabinet make 83 percent of what their male counterparts do.
Nationally, the median pay for women was 82 percent of what men made in the first quarter of 2011, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study.
The 11 women in the Cabinet have a median salary of $85,446, while the median salary for the 33 male Cabinet members is $103,002.
One could argue the men are paid more because their office has more responsibility, but that doesn't fly too far.
Agriculture Director Cecelia Gould is the highest paid woman at $106,621, and one of the longest-serving members. She oversees 259 employees in her agency.
Commerce Director Jeffrey Sayer, who has been on the job since October, is paid $145,018 annually. He supervises 53 employees.
Sounds like Gould has hit the proverbial glass ceiling.
Otter, who has indicated on several occasions that addressing pay inequities has been a priority of his administration, did not reply to the Statesman's questions on the subject.
House Revenue & Taxation Committee Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, doesn't see the issue as one of discrimination.
"Rather, I suspect that the pay differential is the job description differential and/or time in the position," he said. "For example, I suspect the pay for (Parks and Recreation Director) Nancy Merrill's position would be the same whether a man or woman held the job."
Not much are under those wings, either.
Merrill, who was hired in 2009, is paid $83,320. Her deputy director, a male, is also paid $83,320 - not your typical boss-subordinate arrangement. Clearly it makes a statement of worth in the marketplace, and we're not talking about the deputy.
When the economy improves enough to start saving money, maybe that would be the time to address the pay issue. If that's not possible, maybe Otter and company should dial back the male salaries, making them more equitable with the earnings of the female Cabinet members. We can't wait to see the reaction to either proposal.
Originally posted at http://dnews.com/opinion/article_4f1ff282-00b9-5d3c-80bb-f1ffb62857bf.html
The editorial posted here is provided by permission of its original publisher and does not necessarily reflect the views of Idaho Public Television.
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