Ithaca City Hall

ITHACA, NY -- The City Administration Committee picked up the conversation about pay transparency legislation at its April 27 meeting, this time voting in favor of moving it on to Council. Only Alderperson Jeffrey Barken voted against it.

Committee Chair Robert Cantelmo introduced the legislation at the February meeting. It would require businesses with four or more employees in Ithaca to include a salary range in job postings for the city.

He said it “helps right the structural wrongs in our workforce,” particularly pertaining to the pay gap between men and women and between white people and people of color.

“We’re at a time where we’re trying to rebuild our community workforce and women and people of color are bearing the brunt,” he said.

Cantelmo added it would be beneficial to employers too, by simplifying salary negotiations and improving employee retention.

Barken reiterated his concerns from the previous discussion that he isn’t sold on the idea that the government should have a role in regulating the hiring process in private companies. However, Alderperson Ducson Nguyen said he believes they should be involved.

“I think it’s important, and I want to support this,” he said.

Alderperson Cynthia Brock also supported the legislation and said she likes what it’s trying to achieve, but did have some logistical questions, especially as remote work has become increasingly common since the onset of the pandemic.

Her concern is that companies that are not based in Ithaca can still advertise their position in Ithaca specifically on job board sites like Indeed.

“So I see that they don’t show the range of salaries,” she said. “What do I do? File a complaint to the city? That this company in Hoboken is advertising in a way that doesn’t meet our standards?”

Cantelmo clarified that the language in the legislation specifically targets companies with four or more employees based in Ithaca.

“We understand there’s a large remote presence,” he said. “The intention we’re capturing here is do you functionally have an office presence with the number of employees you have in a location?”

City Attorney Ari Lavine added that New York State has a department that handles those types of complaints, and that would likely be the enforcement mechanism for this legislation as well.

The reasoning is that the legislation would be akin to a workplace discrimination law, and the rest of anti-discrimination laws go through that process as well.

Barken also said he thinks employers will “breeze through this” by listing a salary range as $30,000–-$100,000, but Cantelmo said it will only make those employers look bad.

“If you’re the type of employer who wants to represent yourself that way then it’s your right to do so,” he said.

Barken said he wanted more information from the business community and doesn’t want Ithaca to be seen as unfriendly to business.

Both the state of Colorado and New York City have passed similar legislation.

“I don’t think New York City is viewed as a business unfriendly environment, and this passed close to unanimously there,” Cantelmo said.

(1) comment

Henry Kramer

“I don’t think New York City is viewed as a business unfriendly environment, and this passed close to unanimously there,” Cantelmo said. Really? One of the highest cost places to do business, highly taxed, very regulated. We have federal and state laws amok re private sector employers and the City should not be moving in to add more. And, to impose these requirement on small employers just makes it that much harder to start or run a business in Ithaca.

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