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Wake Women’s Equal Pay Day

“Happy Equal Pay Day,” said no woman ever. June 7 marks Wake Women’s Equal Pay Day. This date symbolizes how far into the next year women in Wake County must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

You may recall that National Equal Pay Day was April 12. There’s a reason why Wake’s Equal Pay Day is so much later.

69¢ on the Dollar

Nationally, women earn an average of 79¢ for every dollar a man makes. In Wake County that amount falls to 69¢. This has a tremendous impact on every Wake County family.

The following infographics shine a light on some of the biggest issues as documented by State of Employment for Women in Wake County—a report published by the Wake County Commission for Women.

Download the infographic PDF.

Task Force on Women’s Employment

The report made some immediate suggestions:

  • Incentivize private employers to help ease the high cost of childcare
  • Expand existing GED programs to include college-level offerings
  • Encourage workplace flexibility to help close income gap
  • Offer “return to work” programs and paid internships for women who have taken a break from the workforce
  • Create a task force to take action on these recommendations and evoke real change in our community

On May 25, the Wake County Task Force on Employment and Wage Issues for Women met.  They are working over the next nine months on further recommendations to address this important issue.

What can you do?

Take part of the conversation with #WakeEqualPay. If we work together we can help get equal pay for equal work.

Improving Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. First, the terms “mental health” or “behavioral health” are misleading. “Brain disease” is more suitable. And they are complex brain diseases with widespread and often devastating effects on patients, families, and the community.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 25% of all Americans experience some type of these brain diseases. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports 1 in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 with 75% starting by age 24.

Read more

Open Data, Transparency, and Collaboration

Back in June, I had the opportunity to speak at CityCamp NC about a subject that’s especially important to me: Open Data in County Government.

We are facing complex problems. We also have the most educated, creative and engaged citizens in the country. I truly believe that if we work together and collaborate effectively, we will be able to help solve these problems.

Renowned statistician William Edwards Deming once said, “In God we trust, all others bring data.” I could not agree more.

Opening our public data enhances government transparency and collaboration while encouraging a more participatory democracy. Wake is leading the country in making county data available to our community. We’ve moved beyond the expected available data of simple electoral and real estate information to include more complex and detailed information including animal center data, county financial reports, water testing and restaurant sanitation reports.

While that work has positioned Wake County as front runner in making collected data available, we’re not finished yet. We’ve recently launched a beta version of our new portal. This beta makes this wealth of information much more accessible thanks to a friendlier user interface.

We’ve also worked to make this wealth of knowledge available to the community in everyday life.

For example, sharing restaurant sanitation grades with the popular online service Yelp. Wake was the third community in the country to make access to this information so straightforward. In hindsight, it makes a lot of sense: Why shouldn’t sanitation grades be in the same space where thousands of people turn for recommendations on where to eat?

You cannot have effective public policy today without data transparency. I believe Wake County’s new open data portal will fundamentally change how citizens learn about their government and how we can work together to maintain—or even improve—our community’s quality of life.

State of Employment for Women

Earlier this month, the Wake County Commission for Women (“WCCW”) released State of Employment for Women in Wake Countyto the Board of Commissioners.

The WCCW report made several key findings which include: the median earnings for women over 25 in Wake County are only 69 percent of that for men, which is 10 percent below the national average; more than 79,000 women have only a high school diploma and in 2014, half of these women lived in poverty; and very few resources are available to women in Wake County looking for a job after taking a break from work for an extended period of time for reasons like illness, child rearing or taking care of a family member.

It’s statistics like these that show the importance for the Wake County Board of Commissioners to work with community members in closing the gender wage gap and addressing other pressing issues women face in the workforce.

From the Wake County press release:

The WCCW recommends creating a task force to take action on its recommendations and evoke real change in our community.

I am currently working in collaboration with the Wake County Commission for Women and my colleagues on the Board of Commissioners to appoint a task force to address these issues.

Read Wake County’s full press release or download the entire report.

September 2015 Newsletter

Focus on the Wake County Animal Center

The Wake County Animal Center is an open-admission shelter operated by Wake County. They take all animals that are surrendered, stray, brought in by animal control, or involved in animal cruelty cases. Each year between 12,000 and 15,000 animals come through the doors. Most are dogs and cats, but the shelter also takes in rodents, reptiles, farm animals , and even exotic animals like the Patagonian cavy (which is a giant rodent–they only saw one of those).

Fluffer Nutter

Dr. Jennifer Federico is the Director of the Wake County Animal Center. She and two other veterinarians not only spay and neuter pets going out for adoption, they also look after the medical needs of all the animals in the shelter, doing everything they can to keep them healthy and illness-free so they can find new homes.

Through innovative programs and strong partnerships, the shelter has made great progress in how we care for our vulnerable animals. In 2013 the Board of Commissioners appropriated additional capital so the shelter could expand it’s capacity to handle more animals and initiate a more aggressive program for treating sick dogs and cats.


By building a quarantine unit for Canine and Feline Upper Respiratory Infection, the shelter’s euthanasia rates for animals with this infection declined from 715 dogs in 2012 to only one in 2015, and from 1130 cats in 2012 to 4 in 2015. These pets were able to get well and move on to new homes.

Our shelter has won many national awards for innovation, including one for the shelter rounds program, which is a multi-prong approach that includes increased specific enrichment from volunteers, increased marketing for placement in their Foster Program, and increased marketing to transfer partners. Through this program 83% of at risk animals were adopted, placed in foster care, or transferred to rescue partners.


Up for Adoption

Adoption prices at the Wake County shelter are the best anywhere! Dogs that need to be spayed or neutered are available for $95, which includes microchip and all vaccinations. Previously spayed or neutered dogs are $45. Cats are available for $45 or $15, depending on whether or not they have been spayed or neutered. The shelter often runs specials for a $45 adoption fees, so check the website for more information.

Animals that are available for adoption from the Wake County Animal Center can be viewed online at the Center’s Animal Adoption Gallery, including the those pictured in this newsletter with Center Director Dr. Jennifer Frederico.



The shelter is always looking for new volunteers and foster families. Want a canine walking companion? Come to the shelter! They can find a suitable dog that would love to be walked, and you can get fit together. Even if you are not able to have a pet of your own but would like to play with a dog or cat, come on over and you can have a great time with a pet who would love the attention.

Animal Shelter volunteers worked 18,124 hours last year. Because of these community partners, 2624 animals transferred out of the shelter and 1998 animals went to foster homes.

More information

Want to learn more? Check out this video and visit the Center’s web site.

Wake County Animal Center web site: http://www.wakegov.com/pets/Pages/default.aspx

Follow the Wake County Animal Center on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfWakeCountyAnimalCenter

Landfill Dogs, a photographic project featuring overlooked dogs, including Marlon: https://www.facebook.com/LandfillDogs

Thanks so much,

Caroline Sullivan, Vice Chair, Wake County Commission

August 2015 Newsletter

Wake County is growing.

Each year we add 25,000 residents.  Every day 44 more people move into Wake County than leave and 20 more are born than die. That is 64 more citizens every day.  We reached 1 million residents last summer and are projected to double in population by 2044. We fully expect this growth to continue so Wake County, along with other partners, is in the process of forming a Transit Plan that will address the transportation needs of our growing community.

Click on the link below to learn more about the background and process.

Please take a couple minutes to view the following video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2L0kFcsqcE) on the Wake Transit Choices Report. Remember that the four transit choices laid out in the report are not actual transit plans, but illustrations of the choices that must be made as we form the final plan.  We expect that there will be parts of all four choices in the final plan.

Your feedback is welcomed and needed!

After reviewing the Background Process and Video, we would like to request that you provide your feedback on the Wake Transit Choices. We are having meetings around the county to discuss the transit planning process. These meetings are open to the public, so please come out and share your opinions. Below is a Link to the calendar (http://www.waketransit.com/meetings/).  We would like to hear your thoughts.  You can go to the waketransit.com website and take the survey under feedback.  You can also pick up a hard copy at any Wake County Library, fill it out and give it to library staff.

Thanks so much,

Caroline Sullivan,

Vice Chair, Wake County Commission

July 2015 Newsletter

Got a summer reading list? There’s no better place to start than Wake County.

In Wake County, we love our libraries and we have one of the best systems anywhere:

  • Wake County Public Libraries rank 6th out of 1,701 systems in circulation in North America, and that includes Canada.
  • They operate at a lower per capita cost than the statewide average.
  • The print circulation in 2013 was 10,679,350. The second highest in the state was Mecklenburg County coming in at 4,470,886.

The Wake County Public library System has a total of 19 libraries:

  • 263,543 kids participated in reading programs last year.
  • Last year the door count in Wake County Public libraries was 3,758,990.

The FY16 budget included funds to support our newest library, the Northeast Regional Library, which will open next year:

  • The budget also provided increases to the book budget, so we can read even more.

Even kids can join in on the summer reading fun…and become a hero in the process!

The Wake County public Library System is also having a summer reading program, because “Every Hero Has a Story!”:

  • June 1-July 31, 2015.
  • Kids ages 0 and up through the 11th grade and beyond can participate and win prizes.
  • Even adults are welcome to participate in special programs.
  • Click here to access the Book Lists!
  • For more information, visit the Summer Reading Program page.
  • If you are looking for more specific events involved with “Every Hero Has a Story,” click here, or click the picture below to watch a youtube video.

If you need some musical inspiration to get you reading, click below to check out a video made by students at Martin Middle School!

News and Notes

An update on the Athens Drive Library:

  • The Wake County Public School System and Wake County have jointly agreed to end public library service during the school day at Athens Drive High School. This move stems primarily from security challenges.
  • When the county first entered into an agreement with the school system in the early 1980s to create this unique hybrid library model, safety issues were vastly different than they are today.
  • Offering public library services in the center of a public school building poses a challenge to the school’s mission of maintaining campus safety during the instructional day. Restricting access to public library services poses a challenge to the library system’s mission of welcoming all citizens to its facilities.
  • I have asked county staff to look into alternatives to provide library services to the citizens who use Athens Drive.  They will be presenting their findings at our board meeting July 6th at 2:00pm in the Justice Center, and I will have a public meeting to discuss the proposals at the library on July 9th at 7:00pm.

Thanks so much,

Caroline Sullivan, Vice Chair, Wake County Commission