Rejected candidate: I don’t support discrimination

By Brian Soergel | Jun 15, 2017

An Edmonds man who filed for a volunteer seat on the Salary Commission said he was caught off-guard when councilmembers turned him down.

Councilmembers approved four residents to its reformed Salary Commission during a council meeting last week: Jay Grant, Ava Dubno, Don Hall and Carl Zapora.

But Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas did not support confirmation of 31-year-old Tyler Nebeker, a Microsoft worker from Edmonds, because he has worked for the Washington Policy Center and during an interview indicated he still supports its policies.

(Jeff Hodson, communications director for the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, was named to the commission this week after Nebeker’s rejection.)

The Washington Policy Center bills itself as an “independent, nonprofit think tank that promotes sound public policy based on free-market solutions.”

One of the center’s documents, “Equal Pay Act Would Promote Unfair Pay for Unequal Work,” opposes equal pay for women for equal work, Fraley-Monillas said.

During a closed council interview, she asked Nebeker if he still supported WPC’s policies, and he indicated he did, and that he is still a member of WPC’s Young Professional group, she said.

“If he believes these values, I have a problem with that,” Fraley-Monillas told the Beacon.

Nebeker, who graduated from Brigham Young University in Utah, said Fraley-Monillas’ allegations simply aren’t true.

“I absolutely do not support pay discrimination, and the thought that the council would make a decision based on a perception that I do is offensive,” he said. “In my interview with the City Council, I was asked if I ‘generally agree’ with the policies of the Washington Policy Center, where I worked from 2011-2013. I agreed that I ‘generally agree’ with the policies, although I couldn't understand the relevance to this volunteer position in the city.

“If anyone had asked my opinions on a specific policy, I would have been happy to clarify. What happened last week was a public refusal of a community member's offer to volunteer based on supposition. I'm disappointed.”

Paul Guppy, Washington Policy Center’s vice president for research, said that Fraley-Monillas’ statement that WPC opposes equal pay for equal work for women is not true.

“She is either lying, or didn’t read our policy study,” Guppy said. “Washington Policy Center strongly believes that all employees should be fairly paid for the work they do. Wage discrimination based on gender has been illegal in Washington state since 1963, and rightly so.

“Regarding Tyler Nebeker, it is mean-spirited and narrow-minded of Councilmember Fraley-Monillas to apply an arbitrary litmus test to Edmonds citizens who express interest in volunteer work. Her hard-line stance will discourage others, especially young people, from volunteering for the city.”

Fraley-Monillas moved to not support Nebeker’s appointment, which was seconded by Councilmember Diane Buckshnis. Councilmember Dave Teitzel did not support Fraley-Monillas’ motion, saying although Nebeker indicated he supports WPC’s policies, he was not asked specifically about this question, and it was unclear if he supported unequal pay for men and women.

Councilmember Neil Tibbott joined Teitzel on the losing end of the 5-2 vote to reject Nebeker.

Fraley-Monillas told the Beacon she was concerned about Teitzel’s support of Nebeker.

“It gives me the suggestion that Mr. Teitzel has sexism in his own background,” she said.

When asked for comment, Teitzel replied: “I won’t dignify such an allegation with a response.”

The Salary Commission’s purpose is to review and make binding salary and benefits recommendations for the city’s elected positions of mayor and council.

In addition, the commission reviews and discusses current compensation information such as salary, wages, health insurance, allowances, benefits and other forms of remuneration commonly received in return for services from other cities of similar population size and forms of government as Edmonds throughout King, Snohomish, Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties.

The commission, established late last year after councilmembers more than two years earlier had voted to disband it, also takes into consideration feedback from the elected officials through interviews as well as members of the public through two public hearings that occur during two of the meetings.





Comments (3)
Posted by: Jim Shelton | Jun 15, 2017 11:19

" Fraley-Monillas told the Beacon she was concerned about Teitzel’s support of Nedeker. “It gives me the suggestion that Mr. Teitzel has sexism in his own background,” she said."

Wow. Not only did she not actually read (or did not understand) the WPC study she cites, she is now implying Mr. Teitzel may be a sexist. I agree with Mr. Teitzel's non-response.

Posted by: Matthew Richardson | Jun 16, 2017 21:30

If Teitzel is sexist, then we all are.

Posted by: Bruce Strasser | Jun 20, 2017 15:14

The comment by Fraley-Monillas is unprofessional and insulting. I think she should first apologize to Mr. Teitzel then tender her resignation. We do not need this kind of thinking on the Edmonds City Council.

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