Finance committee backs benefits payout to interim police chief
Ron Lueneburg seeks $6,468.92 for 172 hours
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander’s interim police chief, captain Ron Lueneburg, received the backing Tuesday from the city’s Finance, Wage and Salary Committee for a benefits payout of 172 hours related to the extra duties and time commitment for being both the police captain and the interim chief as well as having to assist the incoming chief in becoming familiar with the position.
Lueneburg will be remaining as a captain with the city’s police department once the person selected last month by the city’s Police and Fire Commission as the new chief, current Kiel police chief Dave Funkhouser, takes over the position.
“(Funkhouser is) shooting for early May (to begin as Rhinelander’s police chief), at least it’s my understanding,” Lueneburg said. “But for the time that I’ve been serving as the interim chief, and getting the new chief up to speed, realistically that is going to be about a half-year period, just to get him up-to-date on everything that is going on.”
Lueneburg, who was one of three finalists for police chief along with Funkhouser and Oneida County Sheriff’s Office captain Lloyd Gauthier, took over as the interim chief after former police chief Michael Steffes resigned Nov. 1 after more than nine years on the job to begin a position with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
Lueneburg said he didn’t want to be penalized for not being able to use his vacation time with the extra responsibilities he has taken on.
“Ron has taken on the responsibility of two people, and will still, until end of June probably, be doing most of that anyway,” said committee chairman Mark Pelletier. “The fact that he’s unable to take any of this time off is, although very thankful, is our responsibility.”
Pelletier noted that the city got by without a police chief and city administrator for several months and having to pay those salaries while those positions were vacant.
“If there was ever a time to do this and pay it out, now would probably be an easier budget, which I appreciate that outlook on it,” he said.
Lueneburg, who noted the total payout would include a one-week payout he has already received, said the grand total for the 172 hours comes to $6,468.92.
“The police department budget could absorb it,” Lueneburg said.
Committee member Alex Young, who made the motion in favor of the payout, noted Lueneburg didn’t request any additional pay when he took over the extra duties as the interim police chief.
“I think this is probably the least we could do,” Young said.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR ASSISTANT RETIRING
The city will be looking to replace the city administrator’s administrative assistant with Kathy Johnson indicating she is retiring with her late day on the job slated for May 26. Committee members agreed to post the position internally.