Santee-Lynches COG Eliminated the Gender Pay Gap for Frontline Staff

PRESS RELEASE: January 27, 2022                                                                 

MEDIA CONTACT: Chris McKinney (803-774-1384)



Santee-Lynches COG Eliminated the Gender Pay Gap for Frontline Staff

After four years of deliberate effort, the executive director eliminates the gender pay gap for frontline staff.


SUMTER, SC – Edward Everett Hale is quoted as saying, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”


Depending on where a person lives and the industry, women make on average $0.74 - $0.82 on the dollar (18% - 26% less) compared to men. When Christopher McKinney, became the Executive Director of the COG, this became one of his top priorities. McKinney stated, “Although the military is not perfect, one thing they get right is equal pay for equal work. In 2018, this motivated me to do something once I realized the agency I was leading had work to do in this area.”


Pay adjustments don’t happen overnight and so McKinney sought to methodically address the issue. In 2015 the pay gap was 14%. By 2020 the pay gap had been reduced to 2% for frontline female staff. In 2021 after multiple incremental adjustments, the COG eliminated the pay gap for female front-line workers. The gender pay gap was cut to -1.02%. Albeit there is still work to accomplish with regard to female senior leaders, where the gap is 16.6%. This challenge is complicated by the fact the five Department Chiefs do not work in the same fields and certain fields garner a higher pay. Yet still, this is a significant accomplishment, and we will celebrate as we continue to balance the scales.


Freda Amerson, Workforce Operations Coordinator, said, “As we work together as a team, both men and women, it’s appreciated that we are all compensated equally for our work efforts.”  Assonia Sims-Yates, HHS Operations Manager I, and Information Referral & Assistance Specialist, stated, “Thanks to Mr. McKinney’s creative approach to challenging the status quo, promoting equality, demonstrating fairness, and investing in people and not gender, we have a team of diversly talented individuals all working to make this organization better.” In addition, Janae Stowe, Health & Human Services Department Chief, added, “Mr. McKinney intentionally placed this task high on his priority list, which speaks to his character of always doing what is right because it is right!”  And finally, Areatha Clark, Deputy Executive Director and Workforce Department Chief, said, “Equality in the workplace is integral to the success of any organization.  Ensuring employees are paid equitably increases commitment and productivity and attracts the best employees to the organization. Mr. McKinney’s efforts have made this a reality for the Santee-Lynches COG.”

McKinney stated, “The top two most important things I have accomplished are putting Far-UVC technology on 331 rural school buses across our 5 school districts to protect 33,729 students and making significant strides in addressing the disparity in pay between men and women in our agency. We not only addressed it for women, but also for black women who are historically paid much lower than females from other ethnicities and groups with the exception of Native Americans. It has been said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. It is my sincere desire that by this action my staff knows how much I care.” McKinney concluded with it is now a matter of constant monitoring to ensure we keep things as equitable as possible.


About Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments

Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments is a premier organization committed to optimizing our region’s unique strengths for a better tomorrow. Our mission is to deliberately enhance the quality of life and provide opportunities for the advancement of our region. Santee-Lynches serves the counties and cities of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter. To learn more, visit