Wednesday, April 24, 2024


A late policy order asks the city manager to look into City Hall pay practices.

A late policy order asks the city manager to look into City Hall pay practices.

The White House has gender pay disparity? Next they’ll be saying that about about the liberal bastion of Cambridge.

Actually, maybe they will.

A late order passed Monday by the City Council urged the city manager to examine whether men and women are paid differently in their work for the municipal government and “to eradicate any pay disparities that may exist.”

The order honored the fact this is the White House-inspired Equal Pay Day, with Democratic U.S. senators taking a third swing at passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and President Barack Obama signing executive orders to push equal pay for women at companies that have contracts with the federal government.

That follows the news that female White House staff members make about 88 for every dollar paid a male White House staffer (with median salaries last year at $65,000 versus $73,729, respectively). That’s mainly because women hold lower-level positions, according to a White House spokesman.

The policy order was the final item in a five-hour, 45-minute meeting – the last until April 28, because of Passover and Patriots Day – that began with two hours and 45 minutes of public comment mostly about two policy orders about the city’s development master plan, or lack of one.

Even at the shortest meetings, though, councillor Craig Kelley votes routinely against the hearing of late policy orders. Bringing them forward at the end of a meeting outside the regular agenda means residents don’t get to express their views on the orders, he has said.

In this case, though, as City Clerk Donna Lopez read the roll call to see if a hearing of late orders had enough votes to take place, when she called out Kelley’s name he replied, “Yes.”

There was a pause, and Lopez finally asked, “What was that?”