By Ryan Velez
Susan Clark Schaar has been the clerk of Virginia’s state Senate for 27 years, compared to G. Paul Nardo, clerk of the state’s House for five and a half years. Who do you think should pull in the larger salary? The result may be a surprise, or all too familiar: The less experienced Nardo having made $194,341 compared to Schaar’s $175,392.
The Huffington Post reports that this blatant example of the gender wage gap has finally been equaled, with Republican leaders in the state Senate recently authorizing a raise for Schaar. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, her new salary at $195,500 is essentially the same as her counterpart. In a statement to the newspaper, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R), mentioned that this was an imbalance he had tried to fix for several months, saying “I just think that she’s entitled to be compensated at the same level as the clerk of the House. She’s been here 30 years.”
He initially filed a budget amendment to try and raise her salary, and while the move got the support of Democrats in the House, some of his fellow Republicans stood in opposition to the move. One of these Republicans, Del. S. Chris Jones (R), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, explained his stance by saying that Nardo’s job entailed more work than Schaar. “The clerk in the House of Delegates is the keeper of the rolls,” he said in February. “Next year when we get here, his office and he (will) take care of the inauguration. So the jobs are not equal in what they do as far as their task at hand.” It would be Norment and the Senate Rules Committee who finally approved the raise for her.
Schaar told the Dispatch that she was satisfied with the new arrangement, while Nardo said that he had no comment, saying that the issue was between Schaar and the legislative chamber.
“The Senate Clerk works for a separate coequal legislative body and her pay is set completely separate from and by non-House members,” he said. “The Speaker sets mine as Clerk and Keeper of the Rolls of the Commonwealth.”
Interestingly, Jeff Ryer, spokesman for the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, said neither he nor anyone else from the caucus would comment to The Huffington Post for their piece, saying that they do not consider The Huffington Post “a legitimate news organization.”