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Double dipping not the same thing as pay equity

I was astonished by Del. Pamela Queen’s commentary, “For pay equity, rules must change” (Jan. 2). Not because I’m opposed to equal pay for equal work; I strongly support it, and was one of a handful of Republicans in the House of Delegates to vote for the Equal Pay Act. I’m astonished because Delegate Queen clearly doesn’t support equal pay for equal work. She can’t even see the hypocrisy of her argument.

Delegate Queen claims there are two sets of rules, one for the wealthy and well connected, and one for everyone else. By way of example, she tells us she was “stunned” to find out that, “rigged rules” required her to take a leave of absence without pay during Maryland’s legislative session while she was away from her state job as a tenured faculty member at Morgan State University. This supposed pay inequity “forced” her to rely on her delegate’s salary alone, which is one-third of her university salary. Apparently, she was also “forced” to run for delegate.

Delegate Queen clearly doesn’t understand that while fairness demands equal pay for equal work, it also demands equal work for equal pay. A delegate’s job demands a full-time commitment during session. Her constituents deserve no less. Likewise, a tenured faculty member at a state university owes the taxpayers a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Her students deserve no less. Why should Delegate Queen continue to be paid as a faculty member for work she isn’t doing while her colleagues, male and female, of all creeds and colors, bear her share of the workload while she’s gone and being paid to serve as a delegate in Annapolis?

Ironically, Delegate Queen has much more in common with “the wealthy and well connected” who she claims “rig the rules” than those she claims they treat unfairly because she obviously wants to “rig the rules” to allow herself to double dip. Delegate Queen believes the taxpayers should pay her two salaries for two jobs while she only works at one job. She offers us a classic example of a liberal political elitist who wants to change the rules to feather her own nest while piously cloaking her arguments in the mantle of pay equity for all.

The issue of pay equity is legitimate and deserves our continued efforts and attention. Equal work deserves equal pay. However, prohibiting state delegates from being paid for work they aren’t doing is neither evidence of a “rigged game” nor a “pay equity issue.” It’s just a fair policy that protects taxpayers of all genders, creeds and colors from opportunistic, political elites who masquerade as reformers while rigging the rules to financially benefit themselves and further burden taxpayers.

Herb McMillan, Annapolis

The writer, a Republican, formerly represented District 30A in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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