EXCLUSIVE: Women workers in Iowa government earn $5K less in median pay than men

© Copyright 2018, Des Moines Register and Tribune Co. Median pay for women working in Iowa state government is about $5,300 less a year than men, a dollar gap that has changed little over the past decade, a Register analysis has found.In fiscal year 2017, median pay for male government workers was $55,879, about 11 percent more than the $50,537 median for female workers.While the gap in median salaries between the two genders has dropped in the last decade from 15 percent to 11 percent as pay for both rose, the dollar gap remains virtually unchanged.A typical male worker earned $5,476 more than a female worker in 2007 and $5,342 more in 2017.The pay gap is much larger in several university jobs, such as assistant and associate professors and lecturers, where men make 25 percent to 33 percent more than their female co-workers, the Register found.It's an issue that, if left unaddressed, exposes the state to class-action lawsuits, as well as an erosion of talent within its workforce, state and national critics contend.“This is what I view as a systemic problem, when it comes to women and pay,” said Des Moines attorney Thomas Newkirk, who last year helped former University of Iowa associate athletic director Jane Meyer win a $1.43 million jury award against the university for gender discrimination, unequal pay, and retaliation and whistleblower violations.Meyer accused her former boss, Gary Barta, of forcing her out because she was a gay woman who was outspoken about gender inequities in his department.The Register's analysis of state pay showed that men took home nine of the top 10 government salaries in Iowa, led by University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz’s $5.1 million salary.The highest-paid woman was Meyer, at No. 9, whose $950,000 in pay in 2017 was mostly attributable to the jury award.But the true measure of inequity, critics such as Newkirk say, lies in specific job titles held by the Continue Reading

Everything you need to know about a government shutdown

0 View Comments The federal government is barreling toward a shutdown, the first since 2013. If Congress indeed fails to pass appropriations legislation by their Friday midnight deadline, the process that follows could complicate many lives — both those of federal workers and the millions of Americans who rely on them to experience places like the National Parks. Here are the answers to questions you might have about how the shutdown could affect you or your neighbor. What is a government shutdown? Exactly what it sounds like. Much of the federal government gets its funding from annual budget appropriations decided by Congress. The legislation that decides that funding must be passed by a certain deadline — Friday at midnight — and if Congress can’t find a consensus, then the hundreds of thousands of people that work for the federal government can’t get a paycheck. Legally, many of those federal workers are obligated to stop showing up to work — known as an unpaid furlough. Related: Potential shutdown would hit hardest at Colorado Springs military bases Who keeps working during a government shutdown? For employees whose salaries are paid from appropriations, there is another distinction: “excepted” vs. “non-excepted” (not “essential” vs. “non-essential,” which are the more commonly used, but not official, terms). Excepted employees are those whose jobs involve the safety of human life, the protection of property, or certain other types of work designated by their agencies as necessary to continue. These are not necessarily the same as “emergency” employees who are expected to continue coming to work when agencies close for other reasons, such as for severe weather. Excepted employees are to continue reporting for work as normal during a shutdown, though for the meantime they would not be paid for that time. Because agencies are required to pay for services Continue Reading

Attorneys: Doctor’s Medicare fraud didn’t cost government

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Even though a politically prominent Florida eye doctor was convicted of Medicare fraud, that doesn't mean the federal government lost more than $100 million as prosecutors contend, his attorneys argued Wednesday as they tried to save him from a lengthy prison sentence. Dr. Salomon Melgen may have told Medicare he was treating patients for diseases they didn't have but they did have other eye diseases and benefited from the treatment they received, attorneys Matthew Menchel and Josh Sheptow told U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra. The 63-year-old doctor could face a life sentence on 67 fraud and related counts that he was convicted of last spring. Melgen and Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez also face a possible retrial on bribery charges in Menendez's home state of New Jersey. Menchel said Melgen may have wrongly billed Medicare for a covered treatment so that he could be paid for an experimental treatment that wasn't covered, but patients benefited, meaning Medicare's goal of providing care to seniors was met and it suffered no loss. Prosecutors have argued that the Dominican-born, Harvard-trained doctor performed unneeded, painful and dangerous procedures on patients for diseases that they did not have or that were untreatable. Prosecutors "are trying to argue that none of this was necessary and that's not true," Menchel told Marra. "These patients had very sick eyes, something that has been lost in this case. These patients weren't coming (to Melgen) for the heck of it." Prosecutors will make counterarguments later Wednesday before both sides give final arguments on sentencing. Marra said he will then consider the evidence and testimony presented during the four-day sentencing hearing, which began last month, and impose a sentence. The defense's argument Wednesday is important because the amount lost will play a key role in Marra's decision. Prosecutors say Melgen stole perhaps $136 million, and they want a 30-year Continue Reading

Advocates Find A Welcome Surprise In Trump’s List Of Human Rights Abusers, Corrupt Officials

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration sanctioned a wide-ranging list of individuals on Thursday in the first application of a new law that allows the US government to target people alleged to be responsible for human rights abuses and corruption around the world.The varied list of targets includes an Israeli billionaire, a former Gambian president, a Russian businessman, and a former Burmese military official accused of helping to lead an ethnic cleansing campaign against the country’s Rohingya minority.The aggressive sanctions came as a welcome surprise for some human rights advocates, who had wondered whether, under Trump, the US would enforce the law, which passed with bipartisan support in Congress and was signed in the final days of the Obama administration.“I think the bipartisan nature is really important,” said Andrea Prasow, the deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “We didn’t know how seriously they were going to take it until they issued the sanctions today.”Prasow said the move was part of a growing international push to take on human rights abuses and corruption, with countries such as Canada and the UK enacting similar measures. “This is part of a new wave of global accountability,” Prasow said. “And the US really was leading on it and is leading on it.” The Magnitsky Act was signed into law in 2012 as a means to punish Russian officials for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was beaten to death in a Russian prison. He had been jailed for investigating fraud involving senior Russian officials, and his death sparked an outcry in the US, where Sens. John McCain and Ben Cardin led efforts on the bill. Russia responded with outrage, banning the adoption of Russian children by US couples, and the act has been a point of contention between the two nations ever since. Its scope was expanded in December 2016, allowing the US to target people accused of human Continue Reading

Arizona’s Diane Douglas is nation’s lowest paid state education administrator

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is the nation's lowest paid state education administrator, according to an Education Week analysis of state superintendent salaries. Douglas' salary of $85,000 is less than half the national average of $174,000 for state education chiefs, and less than one-third the amount of the country's highest-paid state chief.Carey Wright, state superintendent of the Mississippi Department of Education, is the highest paid state superintendent with a salary of $300,000.Christina Kishimoto, the former superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools, is the sixth-highest paid state chief as Hawaii's Superintendent of Education. Kishimoto's salary is $240,000. READ: Goldwater sues over delay of school-choice program As the state's top education official, Douglas leads the Arizona Department of Education and sits on the 11-member Arizona State Board of Education. Douglas and the education department are responsible for enforcing the state board and Arizona Legislature's policies and administering billions of dollars in state and federal funding to Arizona's district and charter schools.Douglas did not appear bothered by the publication's analysis when reached for comment."It's an honor and a privilege to serve as Superintendent of Public Instruction," Douglas said in a statement. "It's not about the salary, it's about doing the right thing for Arizona's students."The Education Week analysis found no correlation between state superintendent salaries and the number of public school students in each state. (Arizona's public-school system is made up of more than 1.1 million students; Mississippi has less than 500,000 public-school students; and Hawaii's enrollment is 182,000 students.)Rather, the analysis found that a state schools superintendent's salary depends mostly on how they were hired.State chiefs who were appointed by an education board averaged nearly twice as much in salary than Continue Reading

What do Phoenix’s 20 highest-paid city employees make?

The $315,000 base salary of Phoenix's city manager has been a source of public debate in recent years after former manager David Cavazos received a controversial $78,000 raise, bumping him to that level.But what size paychecks are the rest of the city's senior-level staff taking home?Through a public-records request, The Republic has compiled a list of the city's top 20 earners. As a group, these executives keep the nation's sixth-largest city running and oversee about 14,000 city workers who provide services to more than 1.5 million residents.Still, their six-figure salaries aren't a rarity within Phoenix government.There are roughly 450 city employees who earn more than $100,000 per year in base salary, according to the data. Drop the bar just a little bit, and there are about 940 city employees with salaries above $99,000.However, the base salary paid to the city's executives and middle managers often falls behind what's received by their counterparts in the private sector, city research indicates. MORE: Phoenix underpaid 192 firefighters for up to 4 years MORE: What city, school employees earn in Scottsdale MONTINI: Top salaries in Phoenix are an outrage! (Or ...not)A 2011 study compiled by the Segal Company, an outside consultant, found that city employees as a whole receive lower salaries on average than their peers in the private sector. The same is true for the city's more senior-level employees, who fall below the private-sector market by 10 percent or more.For example, Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher, who replaced Cavazos, earns the same hotly disputed $315,500 salary as his predecessor. By comparison, the chief executive officers of several publicly traded Arizona companies with far fewer employees than the city receive more than $1.5 million in total pay, according to Republic research.But city workers generally receive slightly higher overall compensation than the market given their pensions, health care and other benefits, the Segal report Continue Reading

Cops dominate list of 100 top paid Westchester employees

The 100 highest paid employees in Westchester County government last year were almost all police officers and sergeants in the county police, helped along by a contract settlement that added as much as $67,000 in retroactive pay.But for many, even bigger bucks came from overtime, which in a few cases exceeded an officer's base pay. All of the 100 highest-paid employees, rounded out by a few police lieutenants, made at least $187,000 last year. Sixty-six topped $200,000.The fattest paycheck in 2013 belonged to Wayne Mullaney, a police officer who made $135,000 in overtime on top of $97,000 in base pay. With the retroactive pay, he made a total of $299,348 last year. He retired April 1 and the paycheck will help boost his pension, probably pushing it well above $100,000 a year.In addition to Mullaney, two other officers made more than $100,000 in overtime.The data on the 100 highest-paid county employees for 2013 — counting all pay including overtime, longevity pay, stipends, etc. — and on the base salaries for all county employees for 2014 was provided by the county in response to a Freedom of Information request. Officials said police officers and supervisors were the only employees in the top 100 in 2013 even though it's unusual for no other departments to crack the list. Westchester: Top 100 earners in 2013 Rockland, Putnam: Top earners in 2013 2014: Top earners in Westchester, Rockland, PutnamTo get the information, The Journal News had to file two requests with the office of County Executive Rob Astorino. In the first round, the county only provided a portion of the information requested.The county has consistently spent more than $6 million on police overtime, not counting holiday overtime, in recent years, exceeding its budget by $1 million or more. Kieran O'Leary, a spokesman for the department, said the county relies on overtime for some functions because it is more efficient than adding new officers. For instance, in the summer, the Continue Reading

Official says suspended QB Michael Vick OK’d for home confinement

RICHMOND, Va. - Imprisoned NFL star Michael Vick will be allowed to finish his sentence under home confinement because there is no room at a halfway house for him, a government official told The Associated Press Thursday.Vick is serving a 23-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in eastern Virginia's Surry County. He also admitted to participating in the killing of several underperforming dogs.Vick's lawyers have said they expected him to be moved any day into a halfway house in Newport News. But because of a lack of space, Vick will be released instead to his Hampton home at some point on or after May 21, said the official, who has knowledge of the case but requested anonymity because the individual was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.Vick will be on electronic monitoring and will only be allowed to leave home for activities approved by his probation officer, the official said. He is eligible for release in July.The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback's lead attorney, Billy Martin, and agent Joel Segal did not respond to messages seeking comment. Another Vick attorney, Lawrence Woodward, said in a telephone interview that he could not immediately respond.According to Vick's lawyers, the former Virginia Tech standout plans to resume his pro football career. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended Vick without pay, has repeatedly said he will review Vick's status after the legal proceedings are completed.Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said earlier this month that the Falcons will try to trade the contract rights on Vick to another team. Vick, once the highest-paid player in the NFL and among its most popular, has a contract that runs to 2013 and calls for him to receive a base salary of $9 million and a bonus of $6.43 million in 2009. The remainder of the contract is worth $45.11 million, with an additional possible $3 million in Continue Reading

Rage over AIG: Outrage grows over $450 million bonuses paid by bailed-out insurance giant

Lawmakers erupted in fury Sunday after bailed-out AIG began paying out $450 million in bonuses to the same reckless executives who helped ruin the world economy by bringing the insurance giant to its knees. Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank vowed to find a way to snatch the cash back for taxpayers, who now own 80% of American International Group, and fire whoever promised the bonuses. "We need to find out are [the bonuses] legally recoverable?" Frank, who heads the House Financial Services Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday." "We need to find out who said, 'We're going to give these bonuses no matter what.' And I do think it's inappropriate for those people to stay in power in those companies." As the bonus firestorm raged, AIG finally released the list of its trading partners, revealing that much of the bailout billions have gone to settle obligations to European banks. Goldman Sachs led beneficiaries, with $12.9 billion, followed by French financial firm Societe Generale, with $11.9 billion, and Deutsche Bank, with $11.8 billion. AIG owed billions because it had insured tons of risky transactions that all went sour. The execs who made most of those risky bets are the same ones getting bonuses. AIG CEO Edward Liddy informed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in an apologetic letter Saturday that he found it "distasteful" but legally necessary to shell out the new round of payouts, some of which came due Sunday. Liddy told Geithner that before he came onboard last fall - and before any bailouts - AIG had promised "significant" retention bonuses to keep executives from jumping to another firm. "Quite frankly, AIG's hands are tied," Liddy wrote. "There are serious legal, as well as business, consequences for not paying," he added. "I do not like these arrangements and find it distasteful and difficult to recommend to you that we must proceed with them." The letter did not put a number on the payouts, but The Wall Street Journal Continue Reading

Tiny town, big bucks: Official earns $142,000 to run upscale village of 4,000

Meet Andy Pederson, who has one of the cushiest government jobs in the Milwaukee area. Pederson is the village administrator for the tiny suburb of Bayside, a community not much larger than a subdivision. Its 2010 population: 4,389. In his position, Pederson oversees seven village staffers, including the police chief, and the North Shore dispatch center for fire and police calls. On a typical day, Bayside's quiet and well-groomed village hall has many more parking spaces than cars. Pederson is paid a base salary of $142,009 a year. In many years, he also gets a bonus and a car allowance. For example, all together — including a sick leave payout — Pederson received $155,279 in taxable income in 2014. Pederson also hired and promoted his top deputy to an $81,000-per-year job despite her relatively short résumé. She left her Bayside post last year for a job crafted just for her with the City of Waukesha, and Pederson and she got married in March.Pederson said in an interview that they began dating in September, a month after she left Bayside and weeks after his divorce was finalized. He described the romance as "very quick.""We have nothing to hide," Pederson said. "We've done everything in a very professional way."While other governmental agencies have struggled to balance their budgets, members of the Bayside board have consistently rewarded Pederson since hiring him in 2005 at $81,000 a year. His base salary has increased 75% over that time. In addition, the board has given Pederson bonuses in six of the past seven years, ranging from $3,500 to $10,500. He has also been granted a car allowance of up to $6,960 in most years. Pederson now makes more than the Milwaukee County executive, the Milwaukee County sheriff and the Milwaukee County district attorney. Depending on bonuses, he receives a paycheck in line with that of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Continue Reading