Washington Policy Center: Councilmember needs to apologize | Guest View

By Paul Guppy | Jun 30, 2017

Editor’s note: The following was addressed to Councilmember Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, and CC’d to Mayor Dave Earling and members of the council. Fraley-Monillas’ response follows the Guest View.

We are writing to express our dismay and disappointment on learning that you publicly misrepresented Washington Policy Center’s views on gender and pay equity, and used that inaccurate conclusion as a litmus test to block one of our former employees from providing volunteer service in the Edmonds community.

On June 6, the Edmonds City Council, on your recommendation, voted to deny Tyler Nebeker the opportunity to serve on the voluntary Salary Commission, a nonpartisan five-member committee that meets every two years to set salary levels for elected city officials.

You said that you based your opposition on the fact that in the past, Tyler worked for our nonprofit organization, where he held the position of communications assistant from 2011 to 2013.

According to news reports, including in the Edmonds Beacon, you said that Washington Policy Center “opposes equal pay for women for equal work.” This statement is not true.

You then used this false statement to convince four other Edmonds City Council members (Diane Buckshnis, Kristiana Johnson, Tom Mesaros, and Mike Nelson) to bar Tyler from serving on this volunteer commission.

Wage discrimination based on gender has been illegal in Washington state since 1963, a policy that Washington Policy Center strongly supports.

You based your false statement on a misrepresentation of our policy analysis of H.B. 1646, a proposed 2015 bill that would have not made any change to the state’s well-founded ban on pay discrimination, but would have imposed new, vague restrictions on wages and employment.

A majority of the legislature agreed with our policy recommendation and rejected the bill.

As an elected official, your public statements carry weight. In your position as a councilmember of the city of Edmonds, you are obligated to be accountable and to correct statements that hurt others and are factually wrong.

We believe you owe Washington Policy Center and our thousands of supporters across the state a correction and an apology.

More importantly, we believe you owe Tyler Nebeker an apology.

Your hurtful statements and unmerited rejection of his request to volunteer caused public embarrassment. Your false statement and unfair accusations created a hostile environment that will discourage other young people from seeking to volunteer for civic positions in Edmonds.

Paul Guppy is vice president for research at the Washington Policy Center.

Adrienne Fraley-Monillas’ response: The council voted to not consider him for this one volunteer opportunity. I am sure Mr. Nebeker would fit nicely in another opportunity for a board or commission such as Economic Development Commission, Historic Preservation, transportation, parking, disability or many, many other opportunities to volunteer.

 

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