County report confirms minority pay inequities

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Though it was begun under his predecessor, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald fully supported an audit of the county’s hiring, pay and advancement procedures to determine if minorities and women were being short-changed.

Now that the Gender and Race Equity Audit appears to show they have, he is working to see what remedies can be enacted.

“I am turning this report over to new County Manager Willy McCain and his deputies and asking that he review (it) to determine what recommendations we may be able to implement and possible action plans for other steps.”

BillRobinson
BILL ROBINSON

Though the report found no evidence of systematic discrimination, it did find inequities related to “structure, misclassification, contracts, longevity and promotions.”

The report also noted that while the county has made strides in improving minority representation, hiring still favors White males and females.

“The most pronounced representation difference is in the overrepresentation of females and minorities in lower paying jobs,” it reads.

Allegheny County Councilman William Robinson said he was not shocked by the report’s findings.

“I am not surprised,” he said. “It just proves what many people have thought for a long time—that there is pay inequity based on race in Allegheny County.”

The report also noted that the County has failed to keep pace with market pay rates and is using a 30-year-old payroll administration system.

Comparisons of market pay rates to county rates show that some positions are severely undercompensated. The mid-range pay for a business office manager in the open market is $82,980. The county’s mid-rage pay is $40,170, or 107-percent less.

But the report also shows that African-Americans are rarely in a position to be that underpaid. The study found that only 3.85 percent of the eligible African-American females were hired in management occupations with an average pay level of $67,000. None of the eligible African-American males were hired in that category at all.

The highest ratio of eligible Black female applicants hired was 80 percent in the Healthcare category, with an average salary of $46,700. For African-American males the highest ratio was 16 percent in the Transportation category, with an average salary of $35,800.

The audit found the county has no comprehensive job evaluation system, no comprehensive performance review system, and almost no training and development for employees. The only consistent promotional criteria are those in negotiated union contracts.

The audit recommends changes in eight areas ranging from recruitment to developing an equity evaluation system to address current shortcomings.

Among these:

•Create and implement a formal diversity recruitment plan;

•Create a defined career ladder promotion system, and

•Integrate training, development and assessment with the career ladder to build employee skills and promote from within.

The full report can be accessed from the county manager’s webpage at http://www.alleghenycounty.us/ manager/reports.aspx.

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