City Council considers wage appeals
Finance director, wastewater operator in charge to receive more money
BY KEVIN BONESKE
After meeting in closed session Monday night, the Rhinelander City Council announced its decision on six wage appeals the city received from non-union employees.
The appeals came on the heels of a series of wage rates that took effect Jan. 1 as a result of a wage plan put together for the city by a Madison-based consulting firm, Carlson Dettmann Consulting LLC, which studied the city’s wage rates last year and compared them to other units of government.
The wage plan incorporates 17 pay grades, from Grade A-Q, with 11 steps in each pay grade in an hourly format. The hourly wages range from $12.90 to $42.22 under that structure.
Interim city administrator Keith Kost noted employees had until Jan. 15 to appeal their placement in the wage plan, also pointing out only two of the six who appealed will be getting more money following Monday’s council action, which is retroactive to Jan. 1.
Though the council granted city finance director Julie Ostrander a pay grade increase from P to Q, the related step placement from 4 to 1 actually decreases her hourly wage from $34.28 to $32.84. However, because Ostrander’s pay will now be based on 2,080 hours annually – a 40-hour work week – instead of 1,950 hours annually – a 37 ½-hour work week – Kost noted she will receive an additional $1,461 a year with the new pay grade and step.
At Grade P at Step 4, based on 1,950 hours annually, Ostrander already was slated to receive $292 more this year above her 2016 pay.
In addition to granting Brad Vick a new job title as the wastewater treatment plant operator in charge, council members approved increasing his pay grade from F to G and placing him at a Step 10 after having been designated above Step 11 in his previous pay grade. As a result, Kost said Vick’s hourly wage is going up by a dime to $25.25 and providing him $208 more in pay this year.
Of the four other wage appeals, Kost noted only a change in job title was approved for one of them.
Kost said Wendi Bixby was granted a change in job title to a “financial assistant/payroll specialist,” but was denied a step increase, keeping Bixby’s hourly rate of pay at $20.08. Her annual pay in 2017 was already slated to increase by $1,696 over last year.
Deputy clerk Mary Stoll and public works director Tim Kingman were both denied step increases by the council, keeping their respective hourly rates of pay at $17.53 and $37.53. The annual pay in 2017 for Stoll and Kingman was already slated to increase by $214 and $499, respectively, over last year.
Wastewater treatment plant lab technician Jody Flannery was denied both an increase in her pay grade and step, keeping her at Grade D already above Step 11. As a result, her hourly rate of $25.15 is remaining the same as last year with no increase in pay.
As the city’s wage plan now exists for non-union employees, the hourly rate of pay for fire chief Terry Williams increased the most this year by 87 cents to $41.28, an increase of $1,810, based on being in the highest pay grade (Grade Q) at Step 10. His annual salary in 2016 was $84,053. With the police chief position currently vacant, Williams now is the city’s highest paid non-union employee.