What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 24, 2007

Two Big Issues Before Pgh City Council

First up: Back to the issue of city police and domestic violence.

We published a copy of City Council President Doug Shields' bill (No. 2007-1797) on this issue here. Councilman Bill Peduto has been added as a sponsor of that bill, but he's also introduced amendments to it. Gloria Forouzan outlined the changes here as follows:

"...compel the Police Bureau to refer all allegations of domestic violence by officers to the independent Citizen Police Review Board."

"...bar the hiring or promotion of anyone subject to a PFA or criminal domestic violence investigation. "

"...force officers who are subjects of criminal domestic violence investigations or protection from abuse orders to "surrender all firearms, including their primary service weapon, immediately"
While the FOP has argued of the last measure that it "would be tantamount to taking away an officer's livelihood based on a mere accusation" it must be noted that this policy is 1) considered standard practice by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the U.S. Military and 2) that an intimate partner must convince a judge that there is a threat of eminent danger before a PFA is issued (far from the accusation at the October 18th public hearing that cops will lose their guns over "shouting matches").

Also as was mentioned by Jeanne Clark (Squirrel Hill Now) at that public hearing, it has been 114 days (on 10/18/07) since the Mayor and Police Chief had promoted three officers with histories of domestic abuse and not one concrete step has yet to be taken. She also held up a brochure released by the Mayor's Office on DV that appeared to be printed on an inkjet printer and she said was not widely distributed. She compared it to the large-format, four-color, professionally-printed Redd Up brochure (I will note here that, tellingly, the DV brochure was not plastered with Luke's images).

What also came out at that public hearing was that the police response was to give verbal accounts of new policy changes -- nothing in writing still at this late date!

An initial vote on the bill (and amendments) will be held on Wednesday, October 31st.

(Previous posts on this issue here.)

Second Issue: Gender Equity

City Council President Doug Shields introduced a bill today (No. 2007-1845) that would approve the release of a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the city for a "A Comprehensive Study of Positions within Pittsburgh City Government" (see draft version here and a previous post by Dayvoe on this here).

As stated in the RFP's introduction, the purpose of the study is "to include a focus on the general soundness of the current system and whether the system affords internal fairness and equity, without gender or other bias."

Both Barbara L. Trant, Director of Personnel & Civil Service Commission for the City, and Heather Arnet, Executive Director of the Women and Girls Foundation, spoke to Pittsburgh City Council today about the study.

It must be said that both Councilman Bodack and Councilman Motznik initially expressed doubts about the need for such a study with Bodack saying that he thought that the city's hiring and promotions system allowed "no room to exist" for gender inequities and Motznik saying that he wasn't ware of any problems.

Ms. Arnet said that it was an "economic development" issue as a majority of college graduates are women and that demonstrating that Pittsburgh cares about gender equity in pay is a plus for keeping and attracting female professionals.

Some interesting (or nauseating) facts came out during the discussion:

Nationally, women make 81 cents to the dollar as compared to males. Statewide it's 73 cents while it's only 70 cents in the city of Pittsburgh.

There are 3,440 city employees but, only 923 are female.
Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle was blown away by the last figure and offered to help in any way she could in her last months on Council.

Councilwoman Tonya Payne predicted that the study would also show a big disparity in terms of race regarding both hirings and salaries of City employees.

An initial vote on this bill will also be held on Wednesday, October 31st.

Now here's where YOU come in:

Please lobby City Council on both bills and the Mayor's office on Bill No. 2007-1797.

Again, I turn to one of Gloria's posts at The Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society, this time for contact info:

Mayor's Office
Phone: 412-255-2626, Fax: 412-255-2687

Len Bodack, Jr.
len.bodack@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-2140, Fax: 412-255-2419

Twanda Carlisle
twanda.carlisle@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-2137, Fax: 412-255-8658

Dan Deasy
dan.deasy@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-8963, Fax: 412-255-2821

Darlene Harris
darlene.harris@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-2135, Fax: 412-255-2129

Jeff Koch
jeffrey.koch@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-2130, Fax: 412-255-8950

Jim Motznik
james.motznik@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-2131, Fax: 412-255-2821

Tonya Payne
tonya.payne@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-2134, Fax: 412-255-2821

Bill Peduto
bill.peduto@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Telephone: 412-255-2133, Fax: 412-255-2821

Doug Shields
doug.shields@city.pittsburgh.pa.us , Phone: 412-255-8965, Fax: 412-255-2821
You can also join others in lobbying Council members in person on both pieces of legislation on Tuesday, October 30th at City Council at 9:00 AM.

UPDATE: Post-Gazette article: "Dispute over police with PFAs heats up"

We hear tell that in today's City Paper the Mayor more or less blames foot-dragging on the DV issue on the women themselves. We'll be picking up our copy soon.


Mark Rauterkus said...

The gender equity study would be a great task for the city controller's office. The controller needs to study, examine, review, monitor, benchmark, assess and report extensively upon matters of PERFORMANCE in the city and especially within city government.

I endorse the gender study for the controller's office, and I would lead such if elected to the post of city controller.

So there. ;)

And, I'll roll out the red carpet for the arrival of the guarding angles too. We'll be able to use the controller's office for outreach, training and interactions among citizens.

Steelers, Pirates and Pens -- don't worry. I don't want to have you pay a taxes (PILOTS) No. Just buy the stadiums and venues and we'll see what we can do in providing a tax break. That would fit nice into the deed-transfer tax holiday plans of mine.

Parking tax: 50, 45, 40% quibbles. Liquidate the Parking Authority and then take the tax down to a buck two eighty five N@.

Nonprofits, donate what you wish. But don't expand another inch. Build up. I'll push for a moratorium on all net land expansions from nonprofits.

Woops, this isn't my blog.

Back to the thread. I'm all in favor of women in high places getting fair compensation while men stay home and do the laundry. Go Gals Go!

Anonymous said...

so what? another "proposed study" that the administration will never do...does anyone really believe the city is gonna lift the veil for an independant audit and create honest talent/value employment when it might preclude graft/nepotism hiring? watch this one magically fade away...

KR said...

Figures Bodack and Motznik would be the ones to deny the problem of unequal pay. If anyone finds out where Dowd stands on this, I'd like to know.