This is Jean Godden wearing a lapel pin of a jail door, modeled after jail-door pins that suffragists once wore to honor their imprisoned sisters.
Look, internet friends. Everyone knows I just luuuuuurve Seattle City Council Member Jean Godden. Mostly because no other council members ever sass me on the Twitter, and also they rarely have political sartorial statements (see right), and oh, yeah—one of the issues I care most about is pay equity, and Godden's all over that.
Except, um... she totally isn't. Not right now, at least. And while I've been waiting patiently for some action, with an understanding that good policy takes a lot of work, that patience tires eventually. And I have one really serious question that I'm getting really goddamn tired of asking:
Where is the final report from the city's Gender Pay Equity Task Force?
As you'll recall, a report was issued last summer analyzing the wages of city employees broken down by gender. The two important takeaways: (1) On average, the City of Seattle pays women about 10 percent less than men and (2) the city employs twice as many men as women.
As usual, the city's response was a task force. Great! I'm fine with that. As long as it ends with action. Their charge was to meet for the second half of 2013 and deliver recommendations in early 2014 that the city could start implementing, both short-term and long-term. Godden, who's championed the issue based on her personal experiences with unequal pay and who serves both on the task force and as the chair of a council committee on the issue, said in December in a very public letter to Mayor Ed Murray, "The final Task Force report will be issued in mid-January."
But that deadline came and went.
Every time I check in with her office, they say everything's fine, the task force is just trying to perfect everything before they submit their recommendations. And the mayoral transition meant they had a little extra work to do—Mayor Murray replaced the former head of the Office for Civil Rights, Julie Nelson, who had co-chaired the committee all of last year. The last I heard, the word is that recommendations should come out at the end of this month. But it's not the first time I've heard some version of "soon" or "next week" or "next month" from them, so I'll believe it when I see it.
I wouldn't be quite so frustrated, except that last year, when the city's first report on whether the problem existed or not was due from the mayor's office? Council members took the opportunity to try and slam Mayor Mike McGinn for taking too long releasing the data. The mayor's office said for at least a month that they just needed time to make sure the report was comprehensive, accurate, and useful. While publicly, most of the drama stayed under the radar, behind the scenes, it seemed like half the council was running against him and the other half was waiting to endorse whichever not-McGinn made it to November, and goddamn if they weren't sharpening their claws to pounce on what they perceived as some good old-fashioned foot-dragging from McGinn.
So now I'm asking again: Where's the newest report? Why is it that McGinn's report being a couple months late was a huge deal, but this report being a couple months late is just everyone trying their hardest?
I'm feeling the way Godden told me she was feeling last year:
"To be honest, I’m running out of patience... We've been talking about this for 50 years." It's time to get the next steps done.