BY KEVIN BONESKE
Facing several vacant city positions, Rhinelander’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee made a series of recommendations Tuesday as to how to fill those vacancies and what to pay the replacements.
Committee members spent several minutes discussing the street superintendent position recently vacated by Tony Gilman, who left after more than 19 years as a city employee to become Baraboo’s street superintendent. Gilman’s annual salary of $68,994 was above what a wage study conducted for the city last year by Carlson Dettmann Consulting placed his salary for that position.
Interim city administrator Keith Kost recommended the salary range of the street superintendent, which he also favored changing the position’s title to a foreman, to be closer to what the water superintendent and the operator in charge of the wastewater treatment plant are being paid.
“I would recommend going from (pay) grade K at step no. 1 – that is a yearly salary of $52,373 – to the midpoint on (pay) grade K, which would be a yearly salary of $59,862,” Kost said. “That would start to get that position more in line with what the other two people are being paid, but would still put it above what anybody else is paid in that (street) department.”
Finance Committee chairman Mark Pelletier said having a higher salary for the street superintendent than the water superintendent and wastewater treatment plant lead operator “needs to be changed in some way.”
“Unfortunately, we’ve always said no one will go down (in pay),” Pelletier said. “The only way to level it out without everybody else coming up would be a rehire in a position like this.”
Though he favored comparable salaries for the three positions, Pelletier also noted the street superintendent has more people to oversee in that department and would therefore warrant being paid more.
Committee members favored setting the street superintendent’s annual salary range at $52,373-$59,862 as recommended by Kost, who noted that range wouldn’t change even if the position’s title would later be changed to a foreman.
Kost said the street maintenance worker position that also recently became vacant has an annual salary range of between $33,800 and $43,450. He noted that vacancy wasn’t being posted because of the number of applicants who previously applied to be a street maintenance worker.
Public works director Tim Kingman said there are approximately 30 applicants wanting to be street maintenance workers for the city.
Committee members also took action on vacancies in the police and inspection departments.
New police chief Lloyd Gauthier informed the committee that Michael Allard, who has been one of four patrol sergeants in the police department, accepted a position in Marathon County. Committee members favored filling the sergeant’s position from within the department and also hiring a police officer to fill the vacancy created by promoting an officer to sergeant.
City fire chief/building inspector Terry Williams received the committee’s backing to be able to fill a part-time inspection department position, which would increase from 20 to 25 hours per week with the extra five hours paid for with inspection department revenue and the hourly wage ranging between $15.04 and $16.76.
FINANCE DIRECTOR PAYOUT
Following the departure last month of finance director Julie Ostrander leaving to become the director of administration for the city of Lodi in south central Wisconsin, committee members favored a payout to her of $16,687.32, pending a review of the vacation portion of that payout by Kost, who noted about half of that amount is attributable to accumulated vacation time.
Though accumulated sick time wouldn’t be part of the payout because Ostrander’s departure wasn’t a retirement, committee members discussed the possibility of in the future budgeting for lump-sum payouts with a separate fund so that a retirement wouldn’t have as much of an impact on the city’s general fund.