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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Otter: ‘A day for the women’

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter will host a "Women's Day in the Capitol" tomorrow, featuring an array of female state officials in an open forum from 4-7 p.m. and guided tours of the state Capitol. "Women's Day in the Capitol is actually Capitol for a Day for the women," Otter said. "And the idea, of course, is to have all the women that are involved in my administration present themselves to the ladies that want to come to the state capitol, visit us and find out what their jobs are and what they do, and also if they have particular women's issues that they want to discuss with the administrative staff, they can."

Otter has 32 female state agency officials lined up for the event, for which KTVB-TV anchor Dee Sarton will serve as MC and at which people can ask questions of the governor and his administration on state government issues or the role of women in policy-making and state government.

Here are some stats on women in the Otter Administration, based on state payroll records from the state controller's office as of Jan. 7, 2010:  Of the 77 state agency heads on the state's payroll on that date, 50 were men and 27 were women. Average pay for the male state agency heads was $109,658; average pay for the female state agency heads was $88,681.

Those figures include everything from college presidents (four men, one woman) to state tax commissioners (three men, one woman); and from the Department of Administration chief, Mike Gwartney, whose salary is zero, to Otter's three top female department heads, the heads of the departments of Agriculture, Environmental Quality and Parks. Of the 20 official state departments that make up the state's executive branch, five are headed by women. In 2007, Otter made Idaho one of just two states in the nation with no women justices on its Supreme Court, when he appointed Joel Horton to replace retiring Justice Linda Copple-Trout, the court's only woman justice at the time, passing over two female judges who were finalists for the post.

Said Otter, "Women in our statewide community continue to make Idaho the best place in America to live and it is time they are honored with a special day focusing on their important roles in our government, our communities and our lives."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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