So Guess Who Found An Entire Archive of Domestic Registry Documents in the Basement?

So … guess what was found in the basement of the City-County Building? Yes, all of the Domestic Partner Registry affidavits. No copies kept anywhere else and they only went looking b/c someone (ahem) raised a stink. So now we have 16 days to complete the rest of the process.


Things we’ve learned
1. Repositories are not the same thing as personnel files. Copies of personnel documents needed for health insurance should be kept in personnel files.

2. Repositories should be kept in spaces where they can be accessed during audits, not basements. If kept in basements, the clerks should know this. If clerks don’t know this, their supervisors should have known.

3. This does not bode well for an audit that ends up Sept 20 and Open Enrollment that opens on Oct 1.

4. I was right. They “misplaced” the whole damn thing. It took 4 members of Council, a member of the Mayor’s team, the ACLU, the Women’s Law Project and wailing and gnashing of teeth to get to the truth, but it happened.

5. No word on the other aspect of the issue – the higher burden of proof placed on domestic partners, but at this point we are going to submit a copy of every document we have in the entire house including our joint adoption of the dog, the AAA renewal form, the Christmas cards I’ve kept for the past 8 years (see!) and our membership to East End Food Co-op.

None of which is in the basement.

City County Building
City County Building


Things the City has hopefully learned.

1. Serving as a repository requires procedures. Maybe scanning originals (all 60 of them) just in case. Or doing whatever the County does with marriage certificates?

2. Domestic partners should not be treated like second class employees when it comes to documentation.

3. When the Personnel or any other department realizes documents are missing, they should address it – not create new documents or act like its not a concern.

4. It shouldn’t take a hue and cry from a blogger who won’t shut up to get this resolved. Any resident, any employee should have received an immediate response.  It is a damn shame to have to ask for favors in order to complete a damn audit we didn’t ask for in the first place.

I want to thank Kevin Acklin, Paul McKrell, Sue Frietsche, and Susan Davis McIntosh for taking me seriously and recognizing the bigger picture issues involved.

This City that’s most livable and of champions and filled with joyful baseball fans has some serious work to do to become a City of equality. Some of this is institutionalized old-school stuff that is not specifically homophobic; we are just a side casualty. But it takes more than raising a rainbow flag and forming a committee to create an equal society.

It requires tax offset legislation, gender neutral bathroom requirements, more inclusive hiring practices, and other municipal led efforts that will create a better for Pittsburgh for everyone.

And it absolutely requires employees who are responsive to the needs of the residents.



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