Controller to Measure Equity in City Pay Practices

May 1, 2012

The Pittsburgh City Controller's office will examine issues of pay equity among city employees this year.

Controller Michael Lamb said he'll issue a report on compensation rates among similar jobs by year's end, with special attention to disparities concerning gender, race, age, and other factors.

City Council voted on Tuesday to have Lamb conduct the follow-up audit, in order to see what's changed in city pay practices since a similar report was issued by a private company in 2009.

Evergreen Solutions of Florida conducted that study. The report not only outlined differences in pay for "like work" in city departments, but also pointed out the negative impacts pay inequity was having on workplace morale. The Evergreen Solutions study said more than 50% of Pittsburgh employees considered the city offices a "poor work environment."

"We have more job categories than the federal government," said sponsoring Councilman Bill Peduto. "When you have that much chaos, there's a lot of times when people will feel that they're doing a job that requires the same pay as somebody else, but they have a diferent job classification and they get paid less."

Peduto said the current audit is not a "witch hunt," but rather a chance to level out city pay scales and improve morale.

The Controller's office will examine each city department for pay inequities over the course of the year, then make recommendations as to what could be improved. City Council would have the onus to enact those suggestions by setting job categories and pay scales.

"That's something that we do every year," said Peduto. "Right now, we do it under an old, broken system that makes people feel that they may be discriminated against, because somebody else who's doing the same job has a different category with less experience, and gets paid more money."

Peduto said he wants the end result to be a happier city workforce with higher productivity.