As Erie County Executive one of my responsibilities is to appoint department heads to oversee the county programs and services that affect us all and to further the goals of the administration. These men and women not only supervise our staff but also promote projects that Erie County is conducting and engage the public as much as possible with information, education and outreach designed to keep residents connected. From Public Works to Parks and from Senior Services to Veterans Services, every day Erie County government is involved and active in the community in one way or another.
This month I am pleased to announce the appointment of our newest leader, Karen King, who will serve as the Executive Director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women. Ms. King joins us from U.B., had served previously as the Commission’s co-chair and has been active with the group on several other initiatives.
The ECCSW connects women with the resources they need to reach their full potential and works with community partners to coordinate and expand resources and services available to women. Most importantly, the Commission seeks to eliminate discrimination in any form that may exist on account of gender; to fully utilize the potential of each citizen, regardless of gender, in order to preserve our democratic way of life; and to provide equal opportunities to all citizens, regardless of gender, in employment, education, health and mental health, housing, senior and social services, and before the law. This is their mission and an effort that my administration has continually supported.
I look forward to working with Director King on issues such as promoting equality in the workplace and eliminating pay inequity, which continues in our community despite the passage of the Equal Pay Act over 50 years ago. It is wrong that in 2016 our mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters are earning only 78 cents on average for every dollar made by their male co-workers for similar work. That disparity is even greater for minorities, and over a lifetime equates to female workers being unfairly deprived of thousands of dollars in earnings, money that is going to their male counterparts. I took action against this pervasive discrimination in November 2014 by signing my thirteenth executive order, requiring all contractors with Erie County to certify that they provide equal pay between genders.
We must all stand together in support of women and against discrimination, and I will work with Director King to continue this fight. We will also continue to educate the community about the insidious evil of domestic violence and demonstrate our solidarity against it. Domestic violence shatters families and ruins lives, and we must do all we can as a community to eradicate it.
Last September, Erie County underscored our commitment to this issue with the opening of the Tribute Garden at Isle View Park, a beautiful spot on the Niagara River that honors domestic violence victims and survivors.
To learn more about the ECCSW or to join one of our community efforts, please visit http://www2.erie.gov/csw/ .