• Michelle Douglass


Updated: Feb 10

If you're a female public worker employed by the Atlantic County government, you probably know this all too well: when it comes to the wage gap, women continue to come up short -- by a long shot. In Atlantic County government, women employed full time earn an average of $55,000 whereas men earn an average of $69, 387. The wage gap between men and women in Atlantic County is an unacceptable $9,301.00! (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

After an internal complaint of gender wage disparity claim was made by former Atlantic County employees, Diane Ruberton, Heather McManus and Donna Fetzer in February 2018 (resulting in a lawsuit filed in January 2019 against Dennis Levinson, County Executive and other men), Atlantic County finally appointed two women to serve as the head of the Freeholder Board (Chair, Amy Gatto-R and Vice-Chair, Maureen Kern-R) to the Atlantic County Freeholder Board. Hopefully these well-regarded, recently appointed women will take the steps necessary for compliance with the newly enacted New Jersey Equal Pay Act to close the huge gender wage gap in Atlantic County government. (Source: Ruberton et als. v. Levinson, et als, Docket No. ATL-L-000159-19; http://breakingac.com/2019/01/atlantic-county-freeholders-get-first-all-woman-leadership/)

For instance, while there are only 12 women in department head positions within the County, whereas there are at least 30 men in department head positions, and, in most of these positions, the men are paid more than the women. (Source: atlantic-county.org Open Public Request material)

A 2017 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families said that having a wage gap meant that women who are employed full time lost more than $32.5 billion each year. According to the same report, if the wage gap was eliminated, an average working woman in New Jersey would have money for:

  • Nearly 14 more months of child care;

  • Nearly one additional year of tuition and fees for a four-year public university, or the full cost of tuition and fees at a two-year community college;

  • Approximately 84 more weeks of food for her family (1.6 years’ worth);

  • Nearly five more months of mortgage and utilities payments; or

  • More than nine additional months of rent.

(Source: www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/development/annual-report.pdf)

Perhaps it is time for the residents and taxpayers of Atlantic County to consider electing a qualified and intelligent female candidate this November for the elected position of County Executive Director. A woman who knows that paying women less than men hurts all of us. Most families require a two person income, by a man and a woman. We deserve an elected official in charge of County government who will close the gender wage gap to help increase the income of the more than 267,000 households within Atlantic County.

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