Saturday, November 24, 2007
Walberg's Staff and Gender Inequality
Over the next few days, I'd like to take a look at Congressman Walberg's staff. Thanks to an anonymous tip, I think there are some things worth looking at.
Before I begin, I just want to say I have nothing but respect and admiration for the people who work in a congressional office. Obviously, given their employer, Tim Walberg, I don't agree with their ideology, but these are hard-working people. They're being asked by us to help educate the congressman, solve all of our constituent problems, navigate the mess that is the federal bureaucracy, walk the fine line between politics and good government, and maintain high ethical standards. And, on top of all that, they've got to deal with phone calls from people who may seem a little bit crazy.
In other words, the staffers who work in Congressman Walberg's office really do a lot of hard work.
But what's it like to work in his office? Is it worth it? Are his staffers happy? You'd have to ask them. Are they fairly compensated? Well, that's actually something we can look at. As has been noted by others, staffers are probably underpaid, but in Walberg's office, some people are paid better than others.
As one more way that we can ensure openness in government, members of Congress report what they pay their staffers. I'm not interested in publicizing the financial data of ordinary folks trying to do their jobs, so I've removed names from the data I'm going to share. Instead, I'll give you only their pay level, job title, and gender.
Here's how Congressman Walberg's staff was paid during the first quarter of 2007, from January 01, 2007 to March 31, 2007.
(Female staffers, for further emphasis, are in bold, and the three leadership positions-- chief of staff, legislative director, and district director-- are in italics. "Shared Employees," who work for more than one member of Congress, have been removed.)
So, what does all of this mean? Here are the averages:
But that includes the three leadership positions I named above, all of whom make significantly more than the rest of the staff. With them removed, it looks more like this:
In other words, the ordinary male Walberg staffer made $1,693.23 more than the average female Walberg staffer.
In the second quarter, from April 01, 2007 to June 30, 2007, there were no personnel changes, but pay did change. Here's what it looked like:
And, the averages:
That's right, the gender gap got bigger. A male Walberg staffer (not including the chief of staff, legislative director, and district director) would have made $2,973.04 more than a female staffer in the second quarter, up from the $1,700 gap in the first quarter.
So does this mean Tim Walberg just likes to hire male staffers for the important and higher-paying positions? If so, that seems bad enough, but let's look at his Field Representatives.
So, the one male Field Representative who was making less than a female counterpart got a big bump in his pay during the second quarter, leaving the one female staffer making the least of all four.
UPDATE: In the comments, Jay pointed out something that I missed. On the website that I got this information from, the male Field Representative who got the big increase from the first quarter to the second quarter is listed as receiving that amount between March 01 and June 30, unlike everyone else, who's listed as April 01 to June 30. Obviously, this affects the averages and it's tough to say exactly how much he was paid for the second quarter only (not including March).
Still, I feel like the broader point remains: women in Walberg's office are generally doing the lower-paid jobs.
What does all of this mean? There really isn't enough data to do a serious statistical analysis (though, if someone wants to do a comparison to the House as a whole, that might be interesting), so I'm not going to claim there's a clear gender discrimination case here.
Here's what I can say:
I can't answer any of those questions. But you could ask Congressman Walberg.
This is a red herring. You're trying to compare people with different positions and responsibilities. The information is incomplete, because we don't know if a discrepency is due to a bonus, campaign work, different time period (one had an extra month). Compare position to position between offices, not within offices--that's where you see if Wahlberg is above or below average on the pay front.
I still think that, while no conclusions can be drawn, this offers an interesting look at the kind of office Congressman Walberg and Joe Wicks run. The issue I was looking at wasn't so much whether or not Walberg paid all of his legislative assistants, for example, less than the House average (though that would be interesting to look at).
Instead, someone pointed out to me that Walberg seemed to pay his female employees less, or at least had them in lower-paying jobs. Now, it could be that the male employees actually are doing more or better work and deserve to be paid more, but even then, I think it says something about who Walberg chose to hold the "important," high-paying jobs.
Like I said, I'm not saying clear conclusions can be drawn. But a $3,000 per quarter gap in the average pay between male and female employees seems significant.
Also, you're right, one of the field representatives in the second quarter did have an extra month included. I missed that the first time around and just assumed they were all the same time period. I'll update the post to mention that right away.
I know this is sort of like shooting fish in a tea cup, but any information on the racial makeup of Walberg's staff? Just curious....
Fitzy, you are confirming what we all know about Walberg. He constantly reminds us all that his loving wife is right there by his side. She takes care of things that he cannot because he is working so hard for us. She is his "partner" who takes care of all the lame stuff so he can go out and win elections.
If you have ever seen them together you will notice there is something "old world" about the relationship. I grew up in this century in this part of the world and find strong, independent women all around. Walberg and his wife are a throwback to the relationships of the 50's, back when men were breadwinners, women were homemakers, homsexuals were repressed, it was still sort-of o.k. to hate black people and Mexicans.
One can easily get the averages of each office and find that Walberg is paying staff close to the House averages. Since a good deal of Walberg's female campaign staff in the upper echelons have moved on from Walberg (I thought I saw one is now the state head of Ron Paul's campaign), so there's going to be some disparity due to that.
From my time working in the House, I know members using all sorts of ways to pay their employees. I knew some that paid from campaign coffers, because the staff member would do campaign work from his/her house on say the odd Thursday. Then there are the offices that make up pay deficiencies with bonuses at the end of the year.
Until we get an entire year summary, I think it's too early to make any conclusions
It is way too early to draw conclusions from this data, but it reeks of his M.O. His selective reading of the Bible means he has a mission from God to keep women in their place, serving man and paying for original sin. When man follows the advice of women, look what happens... He subscribes to a line of thinking that there is a natural, ordained order to things and men are supposed to do some things and women are supposed to make coffee, answer phones, stay quiet and look nice.Post a Comment
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