The campaign for a living wage for Hillsborough county employees is in trouble, as the task force assigned to study the issue voted 5 to 1 against adopting a living wage. After that vote, Dr W.L. Lee, the lone yes vote, walked out of the meeting, disgusted with what he says is an insult to the public process. WMNF’s Andrew Stelzer has more

Doctor W.L. Lee works with the Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality, abbreviated HOPE. He has been leading the campaign to have wages for Hillsborough county employees raised, the figures being considered were anywhere from 7.33 to 11.97 per hour. Lee was assigned to be a member of a 6-person task force; the task force was assigned to hear the publics input, and use other research, then make a recommendation to the county commission.

ACT “We were instructed by the county administrator to have public meetings…we held those meetings..and the people said they were in favor

After the vote, Lee walked out of the task force meeting in frustration.

ACT “My question is was this smoke and mirrors or just plain insubordination?�

Because of Florida’s sunshine laws, Lee was never able to speak with any of the other task force members about their perspectives, but he says he had a feeling that they were not approaching their task with an open mind.

ACT “I do believe there arte some who are sympathetic, but some have made up their mind, look at the task force, everyone was a businessperson. ACT “And I don’t want to make accusations but they were not listening to the public. They even threw out the research because none of these things matched what they wanted.�

The task force is scheduled to meet next week to discuss alternatives to the living wage to address the problem of poverty and low wages in Hillsborough County. Some of the alternative solutions include trying to increase awareness about the earned income tax credit. The current minimum wage stands at 5.15 per hour.

ACT “will you go to the next meeting…NO..not when the public has spoken…these are people whoa re already working ..�

The county will be considering the living wage ordinance on May 5th.

ACT “And I hope the public will rally to let them know that their wished were ignored.

�To contact HOPE call 813-221-4673 For WMNF NEWS, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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