Council seeks to resolve issue of pay equality

Male-dominated jobs in Maui County government provide salaries and wages considerably higher than female-dominated jobs.

Fifty years after the federal Equal Pay Act took effect, this kind of unfair disparity is unacceptable. The county should be setting a good example for other employers, not contributing to the problem.

That’s why the County Council, at its March 25 meeting, adopted Resolution 14-36, titled “Recognizing April 8, 2014, as Equal Pay Day in Maui County.”

The resolution, which I introduced, commends Mayor Alan Arakawa for convening a task force to address and suggest ways to resolve the issue of pay equality in county government and pledges the council leadership’s support in the effort. The resolution also states that “pay equality is vital for achieving gender equality,” and “pay equality in Maui County would add to the financial security of families and strengthen the local economy.”

I thank the members of the public who came to testify in support of the resolution and my colleagues for adopting it.

The council meeting included action on many other matters.

Bill 22, to appropriate $150,000 for the Kalakupua Playground in Haiku, was passed on first reading.

Bill 23, to authorize two new positions for the Aging and Disability Resource Center, also received initial approval.

Resolution 14-38 was adopted to approve nominees to various boards and commissions, including the new Public Works Commission, which consolidates the duties of four prior boards.

The council gave final approval to Bill 20, establishing procedures for economic development grants, and Bill 21, allowing continued operation of the West Maui Boys and Girls Club.

The matter of an open data policy for Maui County was referred to the council’s Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee. I asked for this action to facilitate the inclusion of more data on the county website, promoting economic opportunities for Web developers and transparency for the general public’s benefit.

In addition, council members reported on the work they conducted at the National Association of Counties conference in Washington, D.C., last month. Conference attendees received news on technology and other initiatives in Mainland counties and met with Hawaii’s U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m.

It’s expected the council will consider a bill to ban tobacco products in county parks, including beaches. A resolution urging the state Legislature to lift the cap on hotel room tax revenues for the counties is also likely to be considered.

To help the council make good decisions on these issues, please testify in writing or in person. You can also interact with the council on Twitter and Facebook.

A hui hou.

* Gladys C. Baisa is chairwoman of the Maui County Council and holds the council’s Pukalani/Kula/Ulupalakua area residency seat. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.