Los Altos council candidates field question about equal pay at local businesses

Seven candidates are running for three seats on the Los Altos City Council in the Nov. 3 election. A virtual forum for council candidates is scheduled 7-9 p.m. Sept. 30. In advance of the forum, organizers have prepared questions for the candidates. Following is the first in a series of questions, with candidates answering one question in each issue of the Town Crier leading up to the election.

The forum is co-sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence, GreenTown Los Altos, Los Altos Community Foundation, Los Altos Forward, the Los Altos Town Crier and the Los Altos Women’s Caucus.

Question: For any businesses that contract with the city, what should the council be doing to assess and verify that there is no pay gap between work done by men and women for the same job?

• Terri Couture: The city council appoints a financial committee to advise them on all contracts prior to being signed by the city manager. Issues regarding performance, salary and work of any and all employees must be directed to the city manager. No disparity is allowed, as council members must follow all state and local laws.

• Lynette Lee Eng: As your current council member, I support equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, race, ethnic background, religion, physical or mental disabilities or sexual orientation. Our city contracts with vendors and consultants include a nondiscrimination clause.  Our police and fire department contracts assure that there are no pay gaps.

• Kuljeet Kalkat: I am 100% for closing the gender pay gap, and it is about time we do so. For our city to support this initiative, it should include binding language in all contracts that vendors must demonstrate equal pay through a third-party audit and certification of their payroll.

• Sally Meadows: Our RFPs (requests for proposal) should require that pay equity data be included in bids and proposals, with analysis and plans to achieve it if inequities exist. Companies will know it’s a factor in our decision-making process. For accountability, we should require reporting on gender pay statistics during the project.

• Alex Rubashevsky: Any company that contracts with the city should provide their antidiscrimination policies, enforcement guidelines and incident history, if any, for city council review as part of their qualification submittal prior to the award of the contract. It should be reviewed yearly by the city council to extend the contracts.

• Scott Spielman: Los Altos adheres to a “no discrimination policy” across the board, which is written into every city contract. We should validate vendor policies and ensure no complaints have been lodged with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I strongly support equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

• Jonathan Weinberg: Businesses that contract with Los Altos must have a written policy stating equal pay for equal work. Businesses must prove that they comply with their gender-equality policies by disclosing employees’ salaries. Names can be redacted, but each employee’s gender and position must appear.

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