Council Member Anne Clutterbuck originally had introduced a city budget amendment to do away with paying a stipend for the City’s bilingual non-classified employees; however, met with protests from various civil rights organizations, she seems to have changed her tune a tiny bit, according to reporter Mary Benton.
After hearing concerns from the public and administration, Clutterbuck has offered substitute language to her amendment that reads: Eliminate bilingual pay for all non-classified employees unless the employee is in direct contact with the public, demonstrates proficiency and there is a reasonable expectation that the language will be used in the normal course of their job duties.
Frankly, this still is not good enough in my opinion. I mean, c’mon, how many of us bilingual folks get called in to translate on a moment’s notice–even if it’s not in our job description just because we’re the Mexican in the room?
Perhaps a Human Resource audit is needed to determine exactly who are these employees that would be targeted before a vote is taken by council. In addition, perhaps they can also determine what is meant by proficiency because whether someone can pass a standardized test or not, an attempt at Spanish is still better than the usual way that non-Spanish speakers would communicate with those constituents: IN LOUDER ENGLISH.
The argument is that this could save over $1,000,000; however, during a time in which the economy continues to hit all employees, taking away pay is that last thing that should be on Council’s agenda, much like furloughs and lay-offs. And there would definitely be questions of fairness if one “type” of employee is targeted over another.