Commission on Status of Women approved

The Pasco County Commissioners has approved an ordinance to establish a Commission on the Status of Women.

Pasco County commissioners agreed to establish a Commission on the Status of Women. Following the vote, several women who worked to have the commission approved marked the occasion with a photo. From left, in front row, Stefanie Pontlitz, Minnie Diaz, Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, Rosie Paulsen, Pasco County Administrator Michele Baker, Shawn Roetschke, and Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, of the Pasco County Circuit Court. Back row, Assistant County Administrator Heather Grimes, Assistant County Administrator Cathy Pearson and Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Blair. (Photos courtesy of Richard K. Riley)

Pasco County commissioners agreed to establish a Commission on the Status of Women. Following the vote, several women who worked to have the commission approved marked the occasion with a photo. From left, in front row, Stefanie Pontlitz, Minnie Diaz, Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, Rosie Paulsen, Pasco County Administrator Michele Baker, Shawn Roetschke, and Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, of the Pasco County Circuit Court. Back row, Assistant County Administrator Heather Grimes, Assistant County Administrator Cathy Pearson and Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Blair.
(Photos courtesy of Richard K. Riley)

It also has approved a resolution naming 10 organizations that will participate in the 15-member commission.

Rosie Paulsen, president-elect of the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association, described the commission’s creation as “a historic moment” during the public comment portion of the county commission’s Sept. 13 meeting.

Paulsen hopes the women’s commission will create a Pasco County Women’s Hall of Fame. “We need one here,” she said.

Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey noted a recent study showing that women still receive unequal pay for the same work done by men.

“So, get ready,” Starkey declared.

The range of topics is wide open, but similar women’s commissions have addressed equal pay for women, affordable housing, women’s health care, and human trafficking.

Starkey and attorney Michele Hintson began a conversation about establishing the commission about two years ago. Since then, several other women have joined in the discussion.

Rosie Paulsen, president-elect of the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association, spoke to Pasco County commissioners about the need for a Commission on the Status of Women and a local Women’s Hall of Fame.

Rosie Paulsen, president-elect of the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association, spoke to Pasco County commissioners about the need for a Commission on the Status of Women and a local Women’s Hall of Fame.

Nearly two decades ago, the Pasco County Commission approved a women’s commission, but there is little known about what happened after that.

The new ordinance and resolution are updates of those past efforts.

The Pasco County Commission’s five members each will appoint one member to the women’s commission.

The designated organizations also will nominate members that must then be approved by the county commissioners.

Each member will serve three-year terms, but can serve no more than eight years.

The following organizations will nominate commission members:

  • African American Club of Pasco County Inc.
  • Hispanic Professional Women’s Association Inc.
  • Metropolitan Ministries
  • Pasco Economic Development Council
  • Pasco-Hernando State College
  • Premier Community Healthcare Group Inc.
  • Saint Leo University
  • Sunrise of Pasco County Inc.
  • United Way of Pasco County Inc.
  • Women Lawyers of Pasco Inc.

Published September 21, 2016

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