City Council finalizes employment offer for new police chief
Lloyd Gauthier to be sworn in May 30
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Hiring a new police chief in the city of Rhinelander is now a done deal.
The City Council voted 8-0 Monday to finalize an offer of employment for Oneida County Sheriff’s Office captain Lloyd Gauthier to take over as Rhinelander’s police chief, effective May 30, when he will be sworn in during a ceremony at City Hall set for 8:30 a.m.
The agreement will pay Gauthier an annual salary of $81,973, based on him being in the city’s highest pay grade, Q, at step 8. He will also be eligible for 19 vacation days and an annual clothing allowance of $500, while being able to bank 200 hours of sick pay at the start of his job, so that with the sick pay he earns it would take 2 ½ years of not using any sick pay to pay back the banked time period.
“I’m very glad to see him come aboard,” said Finance Committee chairman Mark Pelletier. “With the Police and Fire Commission, everyone knows this has been dragging out for a while.”
Gauthier was the second person appointed as police chief since Michael Steffes resigned Nov. 1 after more than nine years on the job to begin a position with the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Commission members March 16 had appointed another finalist, Dave Funkhouser, who has been city of Kiel’s chief since 2005, but Funkhouser then decided last month against becoming Rhinelander’s police chief after not finalizing an offer of employment with the City Council.
Rhinelander police captain Ron Lueneburg, who took over as the interim police chief after Steffes resigned, had also sought the chief’s position on a permanent basis and was one of three finalists interviewed by the Police and Fire Commission.
Commission members are authorized to select the police chief without approval of the City Council, which is responsible for finalizing the compensation package for the person named chief to accept. The position had been posted with a tentative annual salary range of between $79,000 and $85,500.
Pelletier said Funkhouser and Gauthier both were initially offered an annual salary of $80,018, at step 7 in pay grade Q, for which Funkhouser made no counteroffer and Gauthier subsequently did.
Gauthier, who has 27 years of experience in law enforcement and previously worked at the Rhinelander Police Department before joining the sheriff’s office, said he is excited to be employed again with the city.
“It’s over, Lloyd, you’re in,” Mayor Dick Johns said after the council members unanimously approved Gauthier’s offer of employment.