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Debate Gets Personal At Council Meeting To Vote On Pay History Ban

cincinnati council chambers
Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati Council has approved an ordinance prohibiting employers from asking the salary history of job applicants. The goal is to address pay inequities between men and women.

The vote followed an extensive debate that got personal between council members Chris Seelbach and Amy Murray.  

Seelbach was upset after Murray announced she would vote against the measure.

"Ms. Murray is going to vote against this; she's voted against LGBT things, and she's voted against environmental things making us (this city) 100 percent clean energy for all city employees," Seelbach said. "All of those things, her voting record is against bringing talent here."

Seelbach accused Murray of being anti-gay, anti-environment and anti-women.  

Murray said that crossed the line.

"So I don't appreciate constantly being attacked," Murray said, "All of us have our votes, you can disagree with my votes, that's fine. But you can't just bring up your own facts.  There's many things that I have voted for, and many of those things you talk about, out of the majority that I have voted for, there's a few that I've voted against, and that's that."

After the exchange, which lasted about five minutes, Mayor John Cranley called for civility.

"But that was very personal to Council Member Murray, and I think if we're going to move forward as a body that we should make it less personal and more policy-orientated," Cranley said. "And I think that would help our civility, especially in light of recent events."

Those recent events include the release of private text messages among five council members, sometimes being critical of other members.  

The new salary history ordinance won't take effect for a year.

Meanwhile, council approved an ordinance Wednesday that will make 200 of the 500 spaces in the Over-the-Rhine residential parking permit program flex spaces from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some businesses have complained the program that started Jan. 1 is making it difficult for patrons and workers to find parking.  It's possible council could consider additional modifications in the future.  

Council also voted 5-3 in favor of a motion to narrow Liberty Street to five lanes from the current seven to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. It reaffirms a vote the group took in October to fully fund the proposal and asks city administrators to begin work on the plan.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.