Finance Committee backs contract extension for interim city administrator
Keith Kost to also receive city health insurance after Jan. 1
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee voted Tuesday in favor of offering a six-month contract extension with the addition of health insurance benefits to interim city administrator Keith Kost.
Kost, whose current contract runs through the end of December, now receives an annual salary of $51,000 with no insurance benefits. In the contract addendum to be drafted for final approval at Monday’s City Council meeting, city attorney Carrie Miljevich said Kost would receive a six-month salary of $25,500, and health insurance benefits worth $6,598.
Kost said the addendum will require him, for insurance eligibility purposes, to work at least 30 hours a week, which he is already doing, even though his salary is based on 60 percent of a full-time administrator.
“The insurance amount is based on 75 percent, because that’s what I’ll be working,” he said.
Kost, a retired attorney, has held the city administrator’s position on a part-time basis since February. Prior to Kost’s hiring, the city had been without an administrator for more than five months after council members voted 6-2 on Aug. 29, 2016, to terminate the contract of the city’s last full-time administrator, Kristina Aschenbrenner, who had been in the position for not quite a year and received an annual salary of $85,000.
Finance Committee chairman Mark Pelletier said the contract extension for Kost would give the city time to search for a new full-time administrator. Pelletier also noted the expense for having Kost in the position for an additional six months next year would be “way, way lower than what we’re looking at once we have a full-time administrator anyway.”
“We do have budgeted for 2018 the cost of a full-time administrator with benefits,” Pelletier said.